Business Development, Business Planning, HR, HR & Employment, Leadership

Performance Appraisals Reimagined, How to Modernise Your HR Reviews

David Jones | 4 September 2023 | 6 months ago

HR reviews have been a part of tracking an employee’s performance for a long time – they are there to highlight the things an employee is doing right, as well as any major areas for improvement – but a concerning number of businesses are still approaching reviews in a traditional, vague and somewhat out of date way. If you really want to get the most out of a HR review, you need to modernise your approach.

Reimagining and updating how you manage performance appraisals will ensure that you and your employees are getting as much out of the feedback as possible. You can do this in several ways. For example, you could adopt continuous feedback or embrace the use of technology. You could provide employees with meaningful goals or maximise what you are getting out of peer reviews.

In this blog, we have taken a deep dive into how you can improve your HR reviews with a modern workplace in mind.

The Challenges of Traditional Performance Appraisals

If you ask us, traditional performance appraisals are out of date. They no longer provide the insight, feedback, and clarity that employees are looking for, and this can cause employee dissatisfaction. Though there are certainly benefits to traditional performance appraisals, modernising how you approach HR reviews is key. Traditional performance appraisals often fail to meet the needs of employees and employers; employees tend to find feedback confusing and one-sided, and employers aren’t always able to give clear, concise, and measurable goals.

One significant challenge is the lack of real-time feedback. Employees often find themselves waiting for an annual review to receive insights on their performance, which is a long time to wait if you want to improve and grow in the industry. Plus, it’s hard for an employer to give a performance appraisal taking an entire year of work into account, as a lot of it could no longer be relevant. Additionally, waiting a long time for a performance appraisal can hinder employee engagement and motivation. Employees are left without clear guidance for longer than they should.

Adopting Continuous Feedback and Real-Time Reviews

When it comes to HR reviews, you should always encourage open communication within your team. Encourage employees to openly and honestly express thoughts about their own performance, as well as the performance of colleagues. Encourage open communication between managers and team members throughout the year, rather than waiting for an annual employee review. This creates a culture of continuous growth and improvement.

Embracing continuous feedback and real-time reviews can make a big difference to employers and employees alike. You can use technology to enable real-time reviews by focusing on platforms that allow for immediate feedback. This can help to track an employee’s performance and progress at any point, over a significant period.

Meaningful Performance Goals and Metrics

When you are modernising your HR reviews, you need to set meaningful performance goals and metrics. It’s a good idea to follow the SMART technique for goal setting, which means setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This ensures that all goals are clear, easy to track and relevant to a person’s role within the company.

Knowing that a goal is achievable is a motivational factor for a lot of people, as is knowing that there is a time limit to adhere to. If a goal is complex, irrelevant or hard to achieve, employees are unlikely to feel driven enough to improve.

Identifying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) also provides a clear way to measure someone’s success and progress. With KPIs, you have facts and figures to refer to as part of a performance appraisal. This accurately details how an employee is performing on a day-to-day basis, whilst also highlighting areas where they may be falling short.

Incorporating Self-Assessment and Peer Reviews

A lot of feedback comes from managers and team leaders, but it’s just as important to incorporate self-assessment and peer reviews into an appraisal. Doing so creates a comprehensive overview of an employee’s performance, whilst encouraging individuals to reflect on their achievements.

Peer-to-peer feedback offers valuable insights from colleagues who understand the ins and outs of the role. Colleagues often have a unique insight into an employee’s performance, as they are working closely with them daily. Combining self-assessment and peer reviews results in a well-rounded insight into how an employee is performing, with various angles and views considered.

Using Technology and Data

There is so much technology and data available, but a surprising number of businesses are failing to use it as part of employee reviews. Using HR software, you can track an employee’s progress and performance metrics, giving you a quantifiable insight into how they are doing. Analysing this data gives you an insight into employee trends and patterns, helping you to identify areas for improvement. If there are any challenges or problems, they can be highlighted and solved quickly. This approach helps you to make accurate and strategic decisions surrounding employee performance, feedback, and goals.

Communication on New Appraisal Processes

When you put a new appraisal process into action, make sure to communicate this with employees. Clearly explain the changes and how they will affect employees, highlighting the benefits of the modernised approach. You want employees to feel excited about the changes, and not nervous or anxious about what a modern review could entail. Address any concerns that employees might have and actively engage them in the transition. Involving employees in the process encourages them to embrace, support and get involved in the new appraisal process.

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