Appraisals for Results

by Guy Ralfe on January 13, 2010

For many it is performance appraisal time of year, a time of reflection and setting of goals for the coming year. It is a frantic time as everyone digs deep to recall the goings on of the past 12 months. The net result is that employees are really only as good as the most recent performances their manager can recall at the time of the interview.

At the same time bonus packages are being calculated and targets adjusted for the coming year. This measure is usually computed month over month and so it does amass the individuals performance over the period. The trouble though, is that employees only appear to be conscious of this metric for the last 6 weeks of any bonus period as it is usually in this time frame they then can comprehend the chances of achieving their targets and gaining the benefit of a financial bonus.

For all the effort placed into the Appraisal and Bonus process it yields a relatively low return.

I read a quote made by Jacqueline Novogratz in her contribution on Dignity in the ebook What matters Now released here on Active Garage.

“Giving a poor person food or money might help them survive another day… but it doesn’t give them dignity. there’s a better way. Creating ways for people to solve their own problems isn’t just an opportunity in 2010. It is an obligation.”

Motivating individuals and aligning an organization is a difficult task at best, but if we think about it in the context of Jacqueline’s quote, making the goals and performance metrics to support building an individual’s dignity we could better produce the longer term objectives the appraisal process sets out to achieve for the organization and the individual. Today’s process supports the survival approach to objectives, not the fostering, growing and building produced through teaching someone how to do something.

Here are a few thoughts I had to create such a situation:

  1. Shorter time frames – measure and reward on a quarterly basis. Building dignity repeatedly will enforce the behavior.
  2. Center goals around the employee – focus on the employees ambitions and align the organizational metrics to that. When you are hungry you look for food, associate the corporate goals with the food and you will get a person working to take care of themselves and as a result the organization at the same time.
  3. Formulate don’t deliver/direct – mandating a goal is the same as being given something and not knowing how to fend for it again. Formulate a plan in a way that you educate how to attain the goal without directing to the goal. This produces stimulation, thought and learning which will go a long way to help individuals fend for themselves and the organization in the future.
  4. Social Dignity – we are all social by nature and need our networks to survive. Produce situations of dignity for the individual in their social network, at work or at play, will increase their stature as a result of attaining their goals.

Being human is to take care of ourselves first, look to that to produce better results from your employees and your organization.

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