Yes, it’s that time of year again — when the groans of managers can be heard over the mere mention of the words, annual performance reviews. Many managers see performance appraisals as nothing more than an empty, bureaucratic exercise forced on them by HR.
Shortcomings of standard performance review:
- They are a costly exercise.
- Performance reviews can be destructive.
- They are often a monologue rather than a dialogue.
- The formality of the appraisal stifles discussion.
- The infrequency of reviews.
- Appraisals are an exercise in form filing.
- Performance review are rarely followed up.
- Most people find the appraisal stressful.
Here is an approach called The 5 Conversations‘ Framework that I think you will find very helpful. It is easy to implement, constructive and not bureaucratic.
The 5 Conversations’ Framework
The 5 Conversations’ Framework is a fresh approach to managing performance; a substitute – if you like – for the traditional performance appraisal. It is not perfect – no performance management system is – but it does address many of the weaknesses of the standard approach to appraising performance.
In a nutshell
- The new approach I propose is based on five conversations between the manager and each of his or her staff over a six month period.
- Each of these five conversations need only last 10 minutes or so.
- Over the course of a year, using this system, the line manager is expected to have 10 conversations with each of his or her colleagues.
- These conversations are designed to be less formal, more relaxed, more frequent and more focused than the conventional once or twice a year performance review.
This is not to suggest that managers don’t pull up their staff when things are not done properly. While managers also have regular conversations about work-related matters, they rarely engage in a two-way dialogue about important aspects of performance.
These factors are usually left until performance appraisal time. But in these forums they are usually done formally, stressfully, and less frequently; they are more generalised evaluations, and less a discussion and more a monologue. They are therefore unsurprisingly, less effective.