When appraisal time comes round, you may hear a collective sigh from employees and managers alike. It seems managers don’t want them, employees feel they don’t need them, yet almost every company still does them. So has the appraisal had its day? Or can it play a crucial role in employee training and development?
Appraisals: Vital employee development tool or ‘box-ticking exercise’?
A survey by Hay Group found that half of public sector workers and a third of business leaders see appraisals as nothing more than a box-ticking exercise. But a 2009 study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) revealed that 93% of companies use annual appraisals, and only 6% have considered dropping them. So why do employers continue to go through the motions?
Some employers may continue to offer appraisals for fear of liability. If an underperforming employee is dismissed, but argues they have not been given adequate feedback, the employer could run the risk of a dispute.
But perhaps we still offer appraisals because when done properly, they can make employees feel valued. They can also provide an opportunity for manager and employee to deeply reflect on performance, opportunities, achievements and challenges over the past six months or year.
How appraisals can play a key role in employee training and development
While it is important to give your employees continuous feedback via regular one-to-ones, an appraisal gives them licence to take a long-sighted look at their own development. And a key part of that is training. Linking your employee training and development strategy with your appraisal process can add value to both areas.
The performance review can serve as a deep-dive into what training the employee has done, and what training they may need in order to excel at their job. This may cover specific technical skills, or it may cover wider areas such as time management or communication. This will provide a useful starting point. It may be that what the employee sees as their development areas differs from the manager’s view. So the appraisal will give both parties a chance to explore each other’s expectations and form an action plan together.
How manager training can improve the appraisal process
Training your managers to coach, support and develop their staff is vital in ensuring the appraisal process is meaningful. A coaching approach can transform performance management from a top-down affair into a collaboration. The appraisal itself can be used to agree SMART goals, but this is just one step in the employee’s ongoing learning and development journey.
Manager training courses such as Coaching Skills and Supervision and Appraisal Skills are ideal for improving performance management.
It’s also important to ensure that managers are fully trained on organisational objectives. These organisational goals should underpin team goals, and in turn, individual employee goals. If the manager is not up to speed, the employee could be sent down a development path that does not meet the wider company’s needs.
Getting help from a specialist training provider
If you need a little help to marry up your appraisal process with your employee training and development strategy, Knight’s Agency can help. Our expert agents can advise you on how to design a training programme that will complement your performance management process. We run business skills courses for managers and employees alike, including Supervision and Appraisal Skills. Get in touch via the form below or call us on 0207 112 8412.