June 5, 2010 at 12:32pm
As I'm currently working on my annual employee evaluations (including my self-eval which I write and my boss puts his signature on), I'm struck by how much time I sink into them and how useless they really are. While these may have been useful at some point, they have become a charade and surrogate for true management and high quality supervision, and an obligation to the HR office that is perfunctory at best, and a complete waste of time.
Think of the number of employees you supervise and add up the hours you spend working on the forms related to their annual evaluation. Multiply by the total by the average salary and you get the amount that it costs (including your time for ushering/supervising the process) to deliver these performance appraisals every year. Now, ask yourself. Are these documents useful or used again after they are filed with the HR office. If you answer is no, you see how much you are wasting on this whole process. If the answer is yes, then you have no reason to implement this hack.
Eliminating the annual performance appraisal should free up more of your time to work with employees instead on an annual professional development plan that is useful and used across a full fiscal year to advance your employees. Supervisors and managers should know how well their employees are performing. If there are problems, they should be documented when they occur, not once a year in the annual appraisal. If a person is doing well, you should be rewarding that behavior in real time, otherwise you risk losing the chance to amplify the good and deflate the bad.
- Eliminate the annual performance appraisal process
- Institute a professional development plan process that is tangible and real that has milestones that help you measure improvement - this will become a supervisory tool that you can brush off every quarter and assess performance in real time.
- Manage and supervise your people all the time - year round - not resting on the appraisal to document good and bad behaviors.
- Put good and bad behavior in writing directly after it's occurred otherwise you risk losing the track record that allows you to take action.
This will open up all the energy usually spent on the appraisal and allows you to spend it on professional development of the employee and frees up time for real supervision (which is a lot of work to be done well).
I'm sure I'm not the first one to suggest this hack, but because I'm in the middle of doing my employee evaluations, I'm putting it in writing now.