Economic situation should not be a deterrent to the performance management system

In a tough economic environment it becomes even more imperative for organizations to set clear goals and expectations for their employees and give them appropriate feedback. Thus the appraisal process this year forced organizations to get creative and get their employees involved. Though most do not expect the process to be productive, this year experts point out that it can be made valuable if the employee proactively tries to get the most out of it.

It is that time of the year again when most employees, with utmost anticipation, look forward to an annual revision of remuneration. For some the feedback process is something that they truly value, while the rest only seem to dread the very mention of the ‘A’ word. For many companies, the annual performance appraisal season this year was a lesson in creativity. It is a known fact that the global economic meltdown that affected almost every industry forced many organizations to make some major amendments in their policies. And even the performance appraisal systems have been restructured and rewritten. In today’s stressful economy, appraisals for managers are even tougher to handle. When everyone is worried about what the future holds, it is very difficult to discuss employee expectations for the coming year. Many managers are highly skeptical and oblivious to the methodology to be adopted during these tough times and many, to keep employees motivated and engaged for the forth coming year, even inflate ratings. Also, with several organizations resorting to measures like retrenchment, pay cuts etc., many employees feel that appraisals this year may not hold any significance. Therefore the million dollar question is how can managers conduct and execute robust appraisal sessions during turbulent times like these and more importantly, how can employees derive learning out of it and add value to the process, irrespective of what the future of the turbulent economy holds?

Performance appraisal is important at all times, but becomes even more important during tough times. With the growing level of uncertainty and anxiety the need for effective communication with employees becomes vital as does ongoing feedback. Communication minimizes rumors, which if not managed properly, can lead to grave consequences.

An effective appraisal can be conducted without tweaking the appraisal methodology to begin with, for appraisal ratings and performance awards are two different things ad should not be clubbed together. We need to inform the team member of his / her strengths and pen down employee contribution. Non-performers need to be told exactly where they are lacking and should be given timeframe to improve.

Many employees feel that the economic situation should not be a deterrent to the performance management system of any organization. A performance appraisal is a critical aspect of any employee’s career growth. One has to take it very seriously and it is an effective tool for career planning. An appraisal process provides a clear understanding of a manager’s and the company’s expectations about tasks an employee is doing well and areas where he or she needs some improvement and a clear path for growth in their current assignments and beyond.

Similarly, front office manager, Ista Hyderabad says that he expects the same methodology of appraisals though the rewards and upgrades may be few and far between. This is because his industry has been one of the worst affected because of the last year’s happenings. The organization is expected to be as honest as possible and let employees know of its true financial health.

What is it that can make an appraisal valuable for the employee and the employer? Contrary to popular belief, an employee’s contribution can go a long way in making an appraisal valuable at all times. An employee should ensure that he/she and his/her manager are in alignment to the goals and expectation. The measurement criteria and key milestones should be clear, well understood and agreed to, by both the parties. Moreover, an employee should be open to feedback to understand his/her skill sets better and to further develop his/her capabilities. He/She should also be open to learning additional skills to add more value to the organization.

It is very essential for employees to have faith in their respective mangers. Since employees lead the shop floor, their inputs on improvements in processes, suggestions on better cost, management, increasing productivity and understanding their frustrations and personal challenges can all help have keep morale high and increase profitability. An employee should be open to feedback and ask for help in case needed to improve the gaps in performance. This will help add value to the process.

There is a lot of pressure on organizations to conduct effective appraisals that keep employees motivated when times are tough. But, with a little effort from the employee’s side, the whole process can be made more valuable and great results could be expected.