We often get asked here at Trakstar about best practices around various aspects of appraisals and performance management. While each organization has their own culture, goals and processes to contend with we want to provide some guiding best practices that will apply to everyone with an electronic performance appraisal system. Check out these eight pro-tips for HR admins.
1. All Together Now
Set your organization’s appraisal schedule to be the same for everyone. This may sound counter-intuitive, however, in the long run, you’ll thank us. It allows you as the administrator to be more prepared and provide one in-depth training to the team rather then sporadically providing guidance to one employee at a time. While managers may consider it to be too much work at once they will ultimately end up providing more consistent reviews and will be more likely to finish them at the same time.
2. Level Your Appraisals
Ratings are often an important (if not the most important) part of an electronic performance appraisal so make sure to give each level a story. Take the time to outline how ‘Exceeds Expectations’ is different from ‘Exceptional’ to help provide context to managers and employees. You’ll end up with more accurate appraisals and your team will have a better grasp of what being a three actually means.
Take it a step further and level each of your competencies by detailing specific behaviors someone might exhibit if a rating is selected. Trakstar’s most common competency is Communication, below see how we would define the first two levels of a scale:
Not Effective: Regularly fails to communicate, listen to or correctly understand information, instructions, complaints, etc. Does not appear to grasp the significance of information communicated to them nor understand the need to pass on, or respond to information in an appropriate and timely manner. Even routine information may be regularly misunderstood.
Minimally Effective: Shows inconsistency in communication. May display hesitation in passing on important information or in responding to or understanding information communicated to them. Instructions and requests may require repetition and explanation. Written or oral communication can may be inadequate, and may leave others confused or ill-informed.
This allows the rater to see the nuances of each level and make a more informed decision.
3. Short and Sweet
Probably the number one piece of advice we give at Trakstar is to keep appraisal forms short. We find that no one appraisal should have more than 15 actionable items to complete. This can include scoring competencies, evaluating goals, or answering questions. Choose carefully and make sure that all items are pertinent to the position being evaluated. If you must include more competencies or questions, make sure each one added is adding something to the review and is meaningful for the employee to receive feedback on.
4. Communicate Everywhere
Human resources professionals often feel like they answer question after question about expectations or processes. Our suggestion to relieve at least some the inquiries? Include instruction text inside your electronic performance appraisal tool. Start your appraisal document with a note written by leadership about the expectations for the appraisal process or include a schedule to outline when things will be happening.
5. Don’t Compare Apples to Oranges
I once received sample appraisal forms from a client that changed the way I thought about performance management. The forms were thoughtful and creative but caught me by surprise because of one major gap. They asked employees one set of questions and managers an entirely different set of questions with no overlap for discussion. Our take away would be to make sure you are spurring conversations and putting both parties in the right mindset to have a meaningful conversation about performance by comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges.
6. Streamline Approvals
Keep your approvers list simple. Six people do not need to look at every appraisal before it is delivered, trust your appointed approvers and achieve a faster turnaround. Keep it consistent by having one path for an appraisal to follow, for example always send to the manager one level up from the manager delivering the review. You may even consider skipping approvals for top level employees.
7. Create a Training and Resources Center
Many of our clients have had great success with keeping a Trakstar folder or area available to employees year round on an internally hosted site. This way you can direct questions to a standardized location. Or create a “training pack” for new hires that can include pre-recorded trainings and user guides.
8. Mark Your Calendar
On more than one occasion an administrator has been caught off-guard about the next appraisal cycle. Create a calendar reminder well in advance of when your electronic performance appraisals are supposed to start in order to ensure that your site and organization are ready. We love the date calculator on timeanddate.com to help sort out when emails will be sent in advance of an appraisal due date.
These are just a few tips and tricks we see garner great success here at Trakstar. If you want to learn more about how we can help with your performance appraisal process connect with our team today!