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The History of the Performance Appraisal

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Like many management practices, the Performance Appraisal has evolved over the last 70-80 years. Once a top-down evaluation tool, the Performance Appraisal is now an aid in employee self-development and learning, which leads to improved performance. This is the developmental component of a Performance Appraisal. 

This kind of Appraisal is used by Front Line leaders and managers as an aid in making decisions regarding promotions and transfers. It should never be used as a disciplinary tool. Discipline is a separate and distinct process to be used only after all discussion, appraisal and feedback avenues have failed. 

Evolution of Performance Appraisals 

  Evaluative Role  Developmental Role 
Focus  Past Performance  Improvement in Performance 
Objective  Improve Performance  Improve Performance through self learning and growth 
Method  Variety of Rating and Ranking Procedures  Series of development steps (e.g., standards of performance and behavioral indicators) 
Role of Manager  To judge and evaluate  To counsel, mentor or guide 
Role of Employee  Passive or reactive, frequently to defend oneself  Active involvement in learning and decision making 


Motivational Factors On-the-job performance is determined primarily by: 

  • the employee’s competencies (knowledge, skills and attitudes), 
  • self-motivation, and 
  • self-responsibility to accomplish to required tasks. 

These, in turn, are influenced by workplace environmental factors that run the gamut from health and safety to disciplinary practices and from motivational factors that encompass individual respect to trust and transparency. Included in this scenario are the activities Front Line leaders undertake to support improved employee performance. When Front Line leaders know the needs and goals of employees, then they can influence the Hygiene and Motivational Factors and thereby inspire employees to greater levels of self-motivation and self-responsibility. 

But first, let’s clarify the distinction between needs and goals. Needs may be defined as unsatisfied desires. Goals, on the other hand, pull the individual towards a desired object. When the drivers are achieved (either the goals are achieved or the deficiencies are removed), the individual is satisfied. 

Employees are motivated to act by a lack of satisfaction with their current engagement with challenging work. Employees are not motivated into positive behaviours because of some percieved deficiencies. 

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs provides a useful starting point when viewing motivation, especially in the context of Positive Employee Relations. According to Maslow’s Theory, human needs can be divided into five broad classes from primary to self-actualization needs. 

The Theory holds that individuals are initially concerned with the lowest-order (primary or physiological) needs until these needs are satisfied. Then, concern for second-level needs dominates. 

As each level of need is satisfied, the individual’s attention is focused upwards

But if workplace environmental prevents the fulfillment of lower needs, the move upward is halted. A union organizer has traditionally viewed unsatisfied lower-level needs as fertile ground

Another important consideration is that once a need has been satisfied, a person is no longer motivated by that particular need. For example, employees who have adequate social relationships with friends, colleagues and family will probably not be motivated to form additional ties at work. 

The relationship between satisfaction (Motivational Factors) and dissatisfaction (Hygiene Factors) were identified and described by industrial psychologist Frederick Herzberg. He identified several characteristics, which he divided into two factors: 

  • Intrinsic Factors that form the actual nature of the work itself (Motivational Factors), and 
  • Extrinsic Factors in the workplace that surround the job but are not the work (Hygiene Factors). 

Outcomes that Reinforce Employee Behaviour 

Intrinsic (Motivators)  Extrinsic (Hygiene) 
Work Itself 
Responsibility
Achievement
Growth
Satisfaction
Recognition and Pride
Salary
Relationships
Technical Supervision
Policy and Administration
Working Conditions
Job Security

For our purpose the view is that the Intrinsic Factors (those related to job content and personal growth) are important for motivating higher performance. It is from these Motivational Factors that employees experience job satisfaction and engagement. 

The extrinsic factors (workplace environment) are all too often erroneously seen as motivators, but they are not. The best one can get from extrinsic or Hygiene Factors is the absence of dissatisfaction. 

The real rewards from a job are not monetary -- assuming that wage levels are established competitively within your industry and labour market geography. The turn-on's are what employees learn and take away from the job while fulfilling their needs and goals. 

It is critical for employees to realize that improved performance will lead to results that they and the organization value. These outcomes are primarily Herzberg’s Motivational Factors — satisfaction, challenge, advancement, knowledge and self-esteem. The logical consequence is the experience of employee engagement and all the positives that that entails. 

On the other hand, if the Hygiene Factors do not meet the employee’s perceived standard of acceptability, the gap caused will lead directly to workplace dissatisfaction. As mentioned earlier, the presence of dissatisfiers leads to union organizers making their case about employer insensitivity. 

These dissatifiers - the unresolved Hygiene Factors - also become a roadblock to the employee’s ability to experience and appreciate the benefits of the Motivational Factors. When employees are concerned about low wages or a reduced benefits program, it is difficult to obtain their commitment to the learning opportunities inherent in the scope and breadth of their job. 

Of great surprise to many Front Line leaders and managers is the apparent lack of employee appreciation for rectifying the causes of dissatisfaction. For example, if the organization determines its wages are below the community standard and then they make an upwards adjustment, employees will not flock to their door in gratitude for correcting what employees knew all along was a problem. Employees will view this as the employer finally correcting a wrong that they have lived with for a long time.

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Retaining your Better Employees

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In implementing a Positive Employee Relations program, there are key measures that ensure you can hire and retain employees that will be best suited to perform the work needed by your organisation. What follows is a brief discussion of the important fundamentals. 

Selection, placement, orientation, training and assessment processes must be of the highest possible calibre. 

Anything less, and you employ the wrong people, beginning a process that will not lead to excellence. If your most valuable resource is people, it is almost impossible to invest too much time in a good selection process. 

Employees overqualified for their jobs are rarely satisfied with their positions. Therefore, employees hired to perform jobs below their aspirations, education, experience or competency levels will likely become disenchanted. If there are no realistic opportunities for progression or advancement, the likelihood of boredom will increase exponentially. These circumstances can lead to productivity, quality and morale problems and almost certainly to a turnover statistic. 

Suitability is a critical factor. And, it applies right here. For example, positive accommodations for high-potential employees can include: accelerated learning opportunities, being partnered with peers who can positively challenge their skills, or being provided with mentoring opportunities. 

Attitude, performance and related problems associated with overqualified employees will, in all likelihood, show up during the probation period. The presence of an overqualified employee places the Front Line leader at a critical juncture when the probation decision must be made. If the role, responsibilities or Performance Standards cannot be made more challenging, the over-qualified employee becomes dissatisfied and eventually chooses to be disruptive in some manner -- or another turnover statistic. However, this does not occur inn a vacuum. Other employees are watching and wondering if they will be treated in the same manner. 

The reverse occurs when employees whose skills, competencies and/or potential are below that required for the position – under-qualified. An effective interview would identify such an imbalance (between competency levels and/or behaviours and the position’s Performance Standards) and rule out the candidate. However, if the candidate slips through the interview screen, the employee’s performance and behaviour should be noticed by an alert Front Line leader long before the end of the probation period.  

Under-qualified employees pose a variety of problems. First, they will be frustrated by their inability to achieve the Performance Standards of their position. They will eventually become demoralized and feel alienated from the organization – an all too common profile of an employee who would be ripe to sign a union membership card. Finally, if the demoralization is not addressed, this negativity will infect other employees. Issues related to an employees performance, discipline and termination are understandably private matters. However, as mention above, none of this occurs in a vacuum. Other employees - even external observers - are watching to see if you are living your Values. 

The two key factors in play when addressing over- and under-qualified employees are: 

  • A poor match between skills and job. When job responsibilities are poorly matched with the candidate’s aspirations, competencies, behavioural requirements and potential, there is a high risk of turnover. To confirm the employment interview results, we recommend the use of an Assessment tool. This Assessment allows for the measurement of the job’s requirements and characteristics as well as those of the candidate; and, a subsequent determination of the behavioural fit with the culture of the organization. 
  • Lack of clarity around decision-making roles. Examine the job and determine if the decision-making ingredients are correctly assigned. As a Front Line leader or next-level manager, you likely have a strong propensity to want to see your career move forward. This leads many Front Line leaders, and their next-level managers to retain too many decision-making opportunities – such as approval levels and sign-off authority. This results in narrowing the decision-making potential of positions by the amount of decision-making that has been retained. 
This passive action can be a detriment in several ways. For example, if the position’s title is Front Line leader but the next-level manager retains all the decision-making authority, the role quickly becomes an ‘assistant-to.’ Front Line leaders in this position, who do have relevant experience and potential, will likely become turnover risks because someone didn’t appropriately analyze the job responsibilities and associated human dynamics. This can be a costly oversight as the financial investment in a Front Line leader’s training and development is usually significant

  • Performance feedback is tied into Values. Provide clear, objective feedback consistent with the Values of respect, dignity and transparency. Employees may have valuable insights into the realities of their job and the circumstances under which they perform their work. Such knowledge should be included in the conversation. 
  • All leaders are held accountable for Performance Standards and behaviours that exemplify the organization’s Values and Guiding Behaviours. It is in the spirit of the Values that we find more humanity and ` hence, integrity and transparency. Without a sincere commitment by Front Line leaders, employees have little reason to let down their guard and risk exposing personal views and perspectives. If this were the case, Front Line leaders would be unable to get close enough, quickly enough, to understand each employee’s individual motivations and ways of behaving. 
  • The maximum amount of responsibility, authority and accountability is retained within each job. Do not move responsibility, authority and accountability up the organization to the next level; keep pushing these factors and their consequences — problem-solving and decision-making — down the organization. Jobs that are routine and repetitive lead to idle minds and this, in turn, leads to thinking that may not support the organization’s Values or its wish to remain union-free. 
  • Payroll costs are recognized as an investment, not an expense. By compensating good performers there is always the value-added factor that commitment will increase and turnover will decrease. Linking holistic jobs (built on problem-solving and/or decision-making) with self- responsibility, good selection practices, and inspirational leaders will inevitably lead to the logic of maintaining wage/salary ranges above the 50th percentile. Below is a generally accepted formula for ‘measuring turnover’ and ‘measuring retention.’ 

Measuring Employee Turnover 

Most organizations track their turnover rates on a monthly or annual basis. In addition, rates can be calculated for individual departments or locations. 

Total number of terminations over (selected) period X 100 = % 
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Average total number employed over (selected) period 

The total figure includes all terminations, even employees who left involuntarily (due to termination), layoff or retirement. There is no distinction between beneficial turnover and that which is dysfunctional. 

Measuring Employee Retention 

A stability index indicates the retention rate of experienced employees. Like turnover rates, this can be used across the organization or for a particular department or location.

Number of employees with service of 1 year or more X 100 = % 
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 Total number of employees one year ago

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Guidelines for Conducting a Performance Review

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Day-to-day coaching of employees is a vital responsibility of every leader. However, daily discussions are likely to be concerned with immediate problems. The six-month Performance Appraisal cycle will help both parties focus on the critical issues. The purpose of the Sherborne Performance Appraisal program is to provide an opportunity for a comprehensive discussion of overall performance. 

A carefully thought out semi-annual review of performance, with the development of improvement plans, provides each employee with the knowledge of where he/she stands. A jointly prepared and implemented Performance Appraisal, with sound improvement plans, motivates individuals to make the most of their abilities. Such a working climate is a clear demonstration to all Sherborne employees that our “values” are at work. 

The Font Line leader and the employee should separately review the data necessary to prepare the Performance Appraisal. Independently, each party should review the job description, Performance Standards, current development plans, and any tasks or objectives that were established for the preceding six months. This will result in two 'draft' Performance Appriasal documents being completed — one by the leader, and one by the employee. 

The Front Line leader should receive the approval of his/her next-level manager before the performance discussion takes place. The goal here is to ensure that the Front Line leader has the buy-in of his/her manager before decisions, commitments, etc. are made to the employee. However, caution is needed. The employee should not be put in a position of supporting his/her draft against a 'done deal' completed by the leader and the next-level manager. Using the 'draft' Performance Appraisals, the leader and the employee will work towards a clear understanding of the employee’s accomplishments, areas needing improvement, and training needs. The Font Line leader will complete, during the latter part of the discussion, a new and final Performance Appraisal that summarizes the discussion and the improvement plans to which both have agreed. 

The factors contained in the Performance Appraisal document address the employee’s behaviour and performance. For each factor there is a scale that runs from unsatisfactory to meets standards to outstanding. For each of these ratings you are asked to record examples, incidents, situations, issues, etc., that support the assessment. 

Guidelines 

This sample Performance Appraisal includes seven performance areas. More topics can be added if needed; however, this should be done in conjunction with the employee. There is a further area entitled “Additional Comments” which encourages comment on performance not specifically addressed in the previous areas. 

It is anticipated that an assessment will be made in each area which is appropriate to the performance being reviewed. The “Examples/Supporting Information” section must be used in each case. 

In the section called “Development Plans/Target Dates,” it is the Front Line leader’s responsibility to initiate the discussion relative to training and development plans. It is in this section that the leader can truly perform his/her Human Resource management responsibilities by counselling, guiding and coaching the employee to improve job performance and/or broaden career aspirations. However, the bottom line is that the employee owns the commitment to their own development, not the leader. 

In the final section, “Summary,” an overall review of performance is required. It should logically reflect the performance levels indicated above on the form, but it should not be the result of a simple mathematical formula. 

The following is an example of how to interpret the assessment factors: 

(12) Outstanding — Performance, results and contributions are above expected levels to meet position requirements. All areas of job responsibility are being exceeded in terms of results and productivity. 

(10) Exceeds Performance Standards — Performance, results and contributions are above expected levels to meet position requirements. All areas of responsibility have been met in the most achievable manner. 

(8) Meets Performance Standards — Overall performance, results and contributions are fully satisfactory when measured against overall standards for the position. While actual results of performance may vary above or below standards for different job responsibilities, the overall contribution is meeting job requirements. 

(4) Needs Performance Improvement — Overall performance, results and contributions are below expected levels for the position responsibilities. Partial job requirements and standards are being met. Specific plans to ensure progression must be developed by the employee and the Front Line leader/manager. 

(1–3) Unsatisfactory Performance Level — Current performance, results and contributions are inadequate for the position responsibilities. Without significant improvement in performance, retention of the employee in the position is unacceptable. Specific plans for improvement and a timeframe for measuring results must be developed by the employee and the leader. 

Both Front Line leader and employee should sign and date the completed Performance Appraisal. The employee’s signature confirms the discussion only. 

Performance Areas 

1. Applying job skills This factor addresses the employee’s ability to quickly acquire and effectively apply job knowledge and job skills. Good performance is measured by the successful accomplishment of job responsibilities and Performance Standards using skills appropriate to the Sherborne business practices in his/her department. 

Examples/Supporting Information 
Development Plans/Target Dates 

2. Being productive Works independently or in a team, where appropriate, to produce agreed-upon results (Performance Standards, key success factors, etc.) Rarely requires reminders of job-related process/practices, overall objectives and the importance Sherborne places on customer satisfaction. Examples/Supporting Information Development Plans/Target Dates 

3. Applying knowledge This factor measures the application of culture, Values and goals for the resolution of issues, concerns or problems brought forward by external or internal customers/vendors. The employee demonstrates a passion to continually improve the business process and systems in his/her department in order to satisfy the work needs of others. Examples/Supporting Information Development Plans/Target Dates 

4. Being a team player This factor assesses the extent to which this employee is a team player — that is, willingly and in concert with peers, works to achieve department goals, including any unexpected problems or concerns that arise. Works collaboratively with next-level Front Line leaders/managers in offering constructive feedback and suggestions. 

Examples/Supporting Information 
Development Plans/Target Dates 

5. Using change constructively Consider the employee’s active participation in the change process. He/she demonstrates that change is both natural and positive in a customer-/market-driven organization. Examples of this behaviour will include working productively when priorities change; taking initiatives; within the scope of his/her job, to change/improve processes and activities that hinder/prompt response to changing external/internal customer/vendor requirements. 

Examples/Supporting Information 
Development Plans/Target Dates 

6. Resolving problems This factor assesses the employee’s skills at identification and resolution of problems that reflect the needs of the department (including internal and external customers). The employee is not seen to procrastinate when decisions are needed. Makes more acceptable decisions than unacceptable ones. Demonstrates a willingness to put his/her initiative, judgment and problem-solving skills on the line. 

Examples/Supporting Information 
Development Plans/Target Dates 

7. Taking ownership This factor reviews the employee’s behaviour in accepting ownership for tasks and completing them in a timely manner. Regularly sets priorities and plans work effectively. Meets deadlines with most problems solved. Knows the status of current job tasks and projects when asked. 

Examples/Supporting Information 
Development Plans/Target Dates

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Conducting the appraisal

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We appraises employee performance for two reasons: to assess performance and to counsel the employee in further development. The ultimate goal is to inspire the employee to reach his/her potential. 
Ideally, appraisal procedures are geared to the employee’s level of performance. They may focus on developing a promising employee, maintaining current satisfactory performance, or remedying substandard performance. To be successful, the appraisal procedure must be clearly understood by the employee and the Front Line leader. The appraisal must be a valid measure of the employee’s effectiveness, taking into account his/her level of authority. 

A detailed Performance Appraisal document can be used by your organization’s Human Resource and leadership personnel. The employees should be encouraged to make comments on the form. These need not be a rebuttal (although this is possible). Ideally, they will address suggestions, career expectations, etc. Both Front Line leader and employee should sign and date the completed Performance Appraisal. The employee’s signature is a confirmation only of the discussion. 

Should a disagreement arise between employee and Front Line leader about the Performance Appraisal assessment and/or development plan, both parties should make a concerted effort to reassess the data and seek an agreement. Subsequent meeting(s) may need to be scheduled. If required, time should be used constructively (and not as a point of pressure). When reviewing the performance data, other resource people such as the next-level manager and/or the Human Resource manager may need to assist. 

Conducting a Performance Appraisal 

Conducting an effective Performance Appraisal is not a “sit down, shut up and listen while I tell you your strengths and weaknesses” presentation. In fact, the most effective appraisal discussions are just that — discussions. They are two-way discussions that involve preparation and participation by both the Front Line leader and the employee. The following is a nine-step approach for conducting an effective Performance Appraisal: 

1. Prepare. 

Plan the appointment two to three weeks in advance, and at that time give the employee a blank copy of the form that will be used in the interview. Ask the employee to fill it out in advance of the meeting. This encourages the employee to think through his/her own job performance and area needing improvement - when measured against the Performance Standards. Before the meeting, the Front Line leader should list the employee’s key strengths and areas that need improvement. 

2. Greet the employee. 

Greet the employee warmly, getting out from behind your desk to reduce the “I’m the boss” image that can easily inhibit communication. Say something like, “During this interview, I’d like to offer any assistance I can give and answer any questions you may have. It’s your interview and I’m here to help in whatever way you wish me to.” 

3. Determine the topic(s) the employee wants to discuss first. 

This can be achieved by having you and the employee exchange the draft Performance Appraisal forms you have just completed. There is a strong likelihood that the two of you will have independently reached agreement on many of the factors. Beginning with a topic or issue that the employee is prepared to discuss can reduce tension. It may also increase the employee’s acceptance of changes that you suggest be made later in the interview. 

4. Discuss concerns not mentioned by the employee. 

Ask the employee to describe why he/she chose that particular self-rating. Probe into his/her rationale with open-ended, non-judgmental questions. Seek out facts, reference points and previous Performance Appraisals to better understand the employee’s perspective. Keep the discussion on objective issues (that is, performance versus personality). 

Then, as the leader, explain why you chose your particular rating for the factor. Again, deal with objective data (not your “gut feeling” or hearsay). At this point there is usually enough new information or clarification about old information on the table, so that one or both parties can see themselves logically revising their assessment on the factor. In this way both parties demonstrate their willingness to listen, learn and change positions based on new inputs. 

This type of problem-solving discussion will repeat itself until all factors have been covered. 

5. Develop a written Action Plan for carrying out key solutions in a specific time period. 

6. Give specific feedback to the employee on positive performance that has not already been discussed. 

• Describe the employee’s positive behaviour in specific terms and give examples. 
• Tell the employee why his/her positive performance is important to you, your organization and to the employee. 
• Spell out your future expectations of the employee. 
• Express your appreciation. 
• Develop Action Plans for utilizing the employee’s strengths, if appropriate. 

7. Summarize the interview and discuss ratings. 

The Front Line leader should communicate the ratings now rather than earlier in the interview. This helps the employee to accept the ratings since critical job performance areas have already been discussed in detail. 

8. Set follow-up dates. 

9. Thank the employee.

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Establishing Performance Standards

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An effective system for reviewing performance must be based on clearly understood criteria. When these Standards are specific, it is easier for employees to judge their own performance and to set appropriate improvement goals. Naturally, Performance Standards make the Front Line leader’s job in providing feedback much easier as observations are based on criteria that the employee understands. 
Performance Standards are useful only if they are attainable, specific and area valid measure of the assigned responsibility. When establishing Performance Standards, the following four guidelines will prove useful: 

1. Be specific 

Ambiguous terms accomplish little in communicating what is expected of the employee in fulfilling his/her responsibilities. 


Avoid words such as:
 
Use Self Defining Terms: 
 Acceptable
With no more than 4 percent rejects 
 Adequately Within one day after receipt 
 Approximate By Tuesday 12 noon 
 Maximum No Later then the 15th of each month 
 As soon as possible According to instructions in our procedural manual 
 Carefully  
 Reasonable  
 Courteously  
 Desirable  


2. Set Standards 

Performance Standards should always be viewed within a normal range or, statistically, a bell curve. Some people will exceed the Standards, most will meet the Standards and some will fall short. 

If a Standard is unachievable, employees will tend to give up and perhaps perform less satisfactorily than if no standard had been set. If a Standard is too easily achieved; employees will not expend extra effort and the Standard will eventually have a negative effect on performance. 

As well as being specific and attainable, a Standard must differentiate between activity and accomplishment, focusing on the latter. It must also take into consideration those conditions that the employee cannot control. 

3. Set valid goals 

To expect an employee to make 75 telephone calls a day is not a valid Standard because it addresses the activity only. It is better to expect the employee to make 10 sales a day (the accomplishments) as a result of the telephone calls (the activity). Do not stipulate that an employee attend two seminars a year (the activity); rather, expect the employee to acquire and use specific skills related to current projects (the accomplishments). Likewise do not make the employee responsible for identifying cost-related problem areas. Instead, stipulate that the employee should hold costs down to three percent of the budget. 

4. Authority levels 

In its aim to sweep away the gray areas, management should make sure that levels of authority are clearly understood. A common cause of misunderstanding between an employee and Front Line leader is a lack of agreement on the employee’s authority. An employee who seems to lack initiative or who, alternatively, oversteps bounds may be confused as to the degree of authority he/she possesses. Authority levels should be clearly expressed. For example, employees with: 

• complete authority are expected to take action to carry out a key responsibility without consulting or reporting to the Front Line leader. 
• normal authority are expected to take action but to report the 
• action to the Front Line leader. 
• limited authority are expected to present their recommendations, 
• no authority will not be taken until a decision is reached by the Front Line leader or next-level manager. 

Each key area of responsibility should be examined to establish its level of authority. For instance, if performance is less than satisfactory, the Front Line leader should check to see if a misunderstanding concerning the employee’s level of authority has been a contributing factor. Similarly, it may be prudent to lower the degree of authority when unacceptable performance is a concern, thereby encouraging more frequent discussions between the Front Line leader and employee. The reverse is also an option when an employee is exceeding the establish Performance Standard. 

Your one-on-one discussion with an employee will be the most critical step in the Performance Appraisal and self-development process. 

The Goals of the discussion are to: 

• Clarify any misunderstanding or ambiguity concerning the employee’s role in meeting the job’s Performance Standards - within the parameters of the Values and Guiding Behaviours. 
• Set the tone as part of an ongoing and open relationship. 
• Act as a major motivational event. 
• Provide an opportunity to indicate, by your behaviour, the nature and depth of your concern for the employee.

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Appraising Employee Performance

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Probably one of the most difficult tasks for Front Line leaders and managers is to conduct regular and worthwhile Performance Appraisals with individual employees. All too often these assessments do not cause a positive change in behaviour. This difficulty arises because of two conceptually different ways of viewing the feedback process.
 
The first is the traditional hierarchical method that is still often used. One of its major difficulties stems partly from human nature – people shy away from making critical judgments of other people’s performance. Why? For at least three reasons: 

1. The way Front Line leaders and managers (early in their work career) were treated during their first Performance Appraisal reviews: “I went in raw and came out bleeding!” 

2. Front Line leaders and managers lack of understanding and training in this area. Feedback is both a skill and an art. 

3. Regardless of job title, until one reaches a professional level in their leadership competencies, providing feedback to employees will always be seen as uncomfortable. It does require a certain level of experience to discuss an employee’s performance while leaving the employee’s ‘personhood’ intact. For the inexperienced Front Line leader, determining the cost benefit for their return-on-preparation time will be difficult for some to fathom. 

Precisely because of this lack of understanding, Front Line leaders frequently pull away from conducting Performance Appraisals. Positive Employee Relations means many things. But one aspect that is critical is regular and transparent feedback to and from employees about their job performance. 

The second difficulty has to do with how the Performance Appraisal process is conceived of in the first place. It is rightly assumed that the onus for the feedback falls squarely on the shoulders of the Front Line leader. This is reinforced when the Front Line leader’s Performance Appraisal (Front Line leader with their next-level manager) contains a segment on how well the Front Line leader conducted reviews with his/her employee team. Though this may appear overwhelmingly to the Front Line leader we should not take this responsibility away from this or any other leader of people.

To this point in our discussion of Positive Employee Relations, we have emphasized that the Front Line leader and their employees need to be fully engaged in every aspect of their working relationship. The job responsibilities assigned to an employee – the Job Description and accompanying Performance Standards – are just one aspect of this relationship. What if we acted ‘outside the box’ and assigned employees the responsibility to initially assess their own performance – self-assessment? 

If employees received their Job Descriptions and Performance Standards at the beginning of the review cycle, they would know the required outcomes 6 or 12 months in advance of the actual Performance Appraisal. There should be no surprises! 

We have already given employees at least half of the tools to perform this self-assessment – the Job Description and Performance Standards. Consider conducting a brief session (10-15 minutes), during the Orientation phase, when a member of Human Resources instructs all newly-hired employees on how to review their own accomplishments, as well as those areas that require further development. This could be considered a mock pre-probationary Performance Appraisal. Once the employee knew what to expect in the Appraisal discussion, much of the fear, anxiety or resistance will begin to dissipate. 

If the Positive Employee Relations culture has been established correctly, and embedded from day one, the employees will understand the importance of meeting their Performance Standards and will also understand that making an honest mistake (not carelessness) is one of the better learning tools. The Front Line leader needs to appreciate this point as well. 

A further step would be, for Human resources, to conduct a 2-3 hour Workshop with employees (nearing completion of their probation period) on how they can factually and transparently assess their own achievements against the Performance Standards. To report back on having achieved, not achieved or exceeded the Performance Standards may be unusual, but not an impossible task, for most employees to undertake. Though this may be an awkward experience, when compared to the feedback methods used by most previous employers, talking about their accomplishments and skills that need to be upgraded will likely, as the process unfolds, be seen as a positive move. The Front Line leader will need to be coached on how to conduct the Performance Appraisal as well as providing positive recognition for the employees’ accomplishments. 

The difficulty for the Front Line leader may be to create a safe environment for employees to discuss why they, for example, did not meet their Performance Standards. However, creating such a safe environment is, as we have previously argued, a major component of Positive Employee Relations. Also, the Front Line leader will need further training to assist the employee to see that performance levels recorded as ‘below standard’ are indicators of the need for further development – not the need for punitive action

By exploring this second approach to employee feedback we place the Front Line leader, employee and the organization in a position to learn and explore new ways of thinking about credible and transparent feedback. This approach does not mean that the Front Line leader’s or next-level manager’s judgment and observations have no role in the process. It does mean that the emphasis changes from the Front Line leader’s unilateral decision about the employee’s performance to the employee taking the first steps in a participative process. In such a process, qualitative and quantitative data is generally not in dispute – it’s usually methodology that is the stumbling block. 

As the employee’s direct involvement in their Performance Appraisal becomes the norm, we can also emphasise the importance of self-responsibility and self-accountability 

Why Performance Appraisal is Important 

 Let’s step back for a moment and look at the many ways a positive and progressive Performance Appraisal can benefit your organization. The following seven points are specific to Positive Employee Relations and are not influenced by any particular industry or the products/services it provides. 

1. It lets the employee know where he/she stands in relation to what is expected from their job (accomplishments vs Performance Standards). 

2. It identifies the employee’s performance strengths and areas that need improvement so that the Front Line leader and the employee can then work together to improve performance and/or behaviour. 

3. It reinforces the message that the only way to truly change employee attitudes and behaviours rests squarely on the shoulders of the employee. 

4. It provides information for the Front Line leader and the employee to discuss and determine what is required to support the employee’s learning of new concepts and methods that will allow him/her to increase their accomplishments. 

5. It provides information for making salary decisions, since salary in a union-free workplace normally related to performance. 

6. It provides manpower and succession planning information by identifying the organization’s spread and depth of human resources. 

7. It identifies the unique training and development requirements for the 2% - 4% of the employee population who are outstanding performers and have the potential to move up the organization. 

A Performance Appraisal could be a tool for motivating employees, but in far too many cases it appears to do the opposite. In fact, there is sufficient research that if Performance Appraisals are conducted in the traditional fashion (Front Line leader telling the employee the results) that the process offers little in the way of positive motivation. Evidence continues to support the view that we cannot directly motivate anyone. However, what we can do is to create a workplace environment -eliminating or noticeably reducing the (negative)Hygiene Factors. Then employees will be engaged enough to motivate themselves because their career and personal needs are being both challenged and met while performing their work. 

How we conceptualize the purpose of a Performance Appraisal and administer the process will have a lot to do with creating, or not creating, an environment for self-motivation.

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An Enlightended Approach to Performance Appraisal

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A culture that is conducive to change depends on a workplace that encourages, enables and rewards performance. In the environment typified by Positive Employee Relations, an enlightened perspective on the part of the senior leadership team counts for more than any book of rules. 
 
No Performance Appraisal system can be effective unless there is an affirmative culture based on employee engagement, trust, transparency and where all Front Line leader-employee relationships are adult-to-adult. 

This perspective should be grounded in the following four conditions: 

1. Employee appraisal and development involves the senior leadership team

This does not mean that the President administers the program. All members of the senior leadership team must wholeheartedly endorse the effort, not only through words but through actions. The most powerful stimulus to appraisal and development comes from the President who talks supportively about Performance Appraisal with all leaders. The President demonstrates his/her commitment by appraising the performance of direct reports and they, in turn, their direct reports. This cascades throughout the organization as a natural consequence of employee feedback and development. 

2. Front Line leaders Must Understand Human Behaviour 

Any Performance Appraisal program fights an uphill battle when Front Line leaders fail to understand that employee growth and development and organizational growth and development mutually influence each other. They are synergistic! 

To change or modify employee behaviour requires a clearly defined goal along with the guidance of the Front Line leader and the commitment of the employee. Such employee commitment must be earned by the Front Line leader; it does not appear magically when the newly-hired employee signs a letter of employment. This commitment is a result of a Values-match at the time a job offer is concluded and the subsequent way the Front Line leader’s and employee’s relationship reflects the Values and Guiding Behaviours. 

In developing more effective performance, the objective is a change in behaviour, not personality. The Front Line leader works with the employee in such areas as understanding one’s behaviour, interpersonal relationship skills, styles of communication, quality of judgment and use of authority. There should be no attempt to change underlying personality traits. 

3. The Front Line leader-employee Relationship is Recognized as Critical 

There can be no substitute for an employee’s own Front Line leader when making assessments about performance. This is where the wheels of honesty, integrity, trust and transparency meet the road. Real development takes place on-the-job (this is the best learning tool available) and the Front Line leader plays a vital role as a trainer, mentor and confident. 

The critical piece is the degree to which the employee has been trained in problem identification and resolution, and then given the opportunity to use these skills in creative ways to add value to the organization’s products and services. And, in doing so, the employee gains confidence in their competencies and maturity. 

4. Motive and attitude are recognized as more important than technique and skill in the appraisal process 

On-line learning, training films, books and discussion groups frequently stress the form and technique of Performance Appraisals. However, mastery of skill does not guarantee effective appraisal. Knowing how to begin the discussion, how to ask open-ended questions, how to use probes, how to actively listen and how to write-up Action Plans are all important techniques. These are the skill of Performance Appraisal – not its art. 

The most important factor is the Front Line leader’s genuine desire to understand, assess and help the employee to develop. With this desire and a sincere application of the Values and Guiding Behaviours, Front Line leaders will evolve their own way of getting the job done. The importance of the role model effect played by the next-level manager in conducting the Front Line leader’s Performance Appraisal, should never be underestimated. It would be the exception for the Front Line leader to know both the skill and art of conducting a Performance Appraisal without further training and development. 

The way people feel about their jobs is the sum of many things: a management philosophy that makes the company’s existence meaningful, an attitude of joie-de-vivre and an inherent enjoyment derived from the substance of their job. 

ADULT - TO - ADULT FEEDBACK 

Traditional Performance Appraisals tend to focus on an after-the-fact subjective evaluation made unilaterally by the Front Line leader. The focus of these appraisals is best seen in their documents, which take the form of pre-printed or generic checklists and call for the Front Line leader’s judgment about an employee’s performance regarding factors such as dependability, flexibility, adaptability, etc. A predetermined rating scale is included so that each factor is measured on a scale of five or ten. 

But what does an employee really learn or know, at the end of a year’s work, when his/her Front Line leader indicates 6 out of 10 on ‘flexibility?’ What is the context of this evaluation? What development plans can be established from this information? How can this lead to an atmosphere of mutual respect? We believe such an approach to employee feedback adds little, if anything, to the development of the employee. 

Given the involvement of Millenial employees in many organizations, such a checklist approach will do more to ensure the employee leaves than commits to the organization. 

A number of progressive organizations, however, have developed appraisal systems that emphasize adult-to-adult feedback through problem identification and resolution. This is not only consistent with Positive Employee Relations; it reflects its core philosophy. 

Employees and Front Line leaders at the beginning of a review cycle first seek a clear and mutual understanding of the specific results to be accomplished at the end of the review cycle. This means the employee knows in quantitative and qualitative terms (Performance Standards) what results are to be achieved and what the next Performance Appraisal discussion will focus on. 

As soon as possible after the completion of any given set of tasks or responsibilities, the employee and Front Line leader can discuss the results in factual and measureable terms. Included would be the reasons for ‘meets standard’ and ‘exceeds standards’ results (measured against the appropriate Performance Standard) as well as any problems encountered. They agree on what needs to be done to overcome difficulties, who will do it and by when it must be done. The Front Line leader is there to remove structural or bureaucratic roadblocks; the employee is to learn new or refined behaviours that move performance towards the Performance Standards. 

Three basic assumptions underlie this process: 

1. Employees need to know what is expected of them: 

Performance improves when employees know in advance the results expected, how results will be measured, what resources are available and which tasks take precedence. Performance also improves when employees, through rational discussion, can influence any of these factors. A reasonable argument can be made that most employees know how well they are performing, long before a qualitative and/or quantitative performance report arrives on the Front Line leader’s desk. 

2. Employees need to know how they are progressing: 

People learn more effectively when accurate, specific and immediate feedback of interim and then a final result is provided regularly. Work planning develops specific, measurable objectives for this purpose. Progress reviews then allow employees and Front Line leaders to measure results against these objectives. The final result is generally not a surprise to anyone. 

3. Employees need to be able to obtain resources and assistance: 

Employees must be encouraged to ask questions and request help when necessary. If they feel their requests are likely to be ignored or that they might be ridiculed or criticized for asking, they won’t ask. Performance levels will likely suffer. Where does the responsibility for such an outcome lie? 

Rather than building on mistakes to justify salary decisions or storing up a paper trail of employee errors and omissions, Front Line leaders and employees search together for ways to solve problems and capitalize on opportunities. Subjective opinions and constructive criticism give way to work-oriented analysis of hard facts about what really has been accomplished and what still needs to be done. 

Right from the beginning of the review cycle, the employee knows what is to be accomplished and measured at the end of the cycle. The measurement is always on performance and never on personality.

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The Performance Appraisal Discussion

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Your one-on-one discussion with an employee will be the most critical step in the Performance Appraisal and self-development process. 

Thoughtful preparation for the appraisal discussion will ensure a more successful and productive outcome. Paying attention to the following issues has proven helpful to many Front Line leaders and managers:

  • The meeting should be private, taking place where there will be neither distractions nor interruptions. This tells the employee you consider this to be an important meeting, worthy of your undivided attention. If your office is not satisfactory, look for a conference room. 
  • Transparency is important. Both the employee and the Front Line leader should complete a draft Performance Review document of the employee’s performance against the Standards. They should share their assessments with each other. This emphasizes that the discussion is not a lecture, and is evidence of your desire to be fair and reasonable as well as open and collaborative. It clearly demonstrates that you ‘walk-the-talk’ regarding adult-to-adult relationships. 
  • The discussion should be unhurried. The length of time required for an appraisal discussion will depend on the employee, the Front Line leader, the level of the job and the anticipated depth of the appraisal interview. Allow sufficient time, frequently an hour, so that both parties can jointly complete a third (and blank) copy of the Performance Appraisal document. Those performance achievements that both parties agree to can quickly be noted, recognition provided and then move on to the areas of disagreement. The employee should never feel that performance feedback is a chore you have sandwiched between higher priority business appointments. 
  • Be up-to-date. Make sure your review of the employee’s performance is based on current and adequate information, preferably learned through first-hand observation and/or fact-based reports. Make sure you have sufficient information on the day-to-day problems faced by the employee. Be aware of the halo effect. 
  • Take the employee's input seriously. The employee is the one doing the job – knows the Performance Standards – and their input should be taken seriously. This is not the time for the Front Line leader to go on an ‘ego trip.’ Likewise, the Front Line leader should not give in where doing so would indicate a lack of sincerity or integrity. Disagreements on performance issues are not arguments; they are opportunities to see the other person’s viewpoint. 
  • Remember that you are a role model. Ask yourself if you would like to see your own behaviour modeled in the employee. Do not always assume the employee knows which behaviours are important. You may find that you have a simple misunderstanding to deal with rather than conscious resistance. 
  • Try to anticipate the employee’s response. It may be cooperative, defensive, submissive or hostile. The employee may see no need for change and therefore be unwilling to commit to improving performance. Or the employee may not believe you really understand his/her position. Keep these points in mind when preparing for the interview and plan ways to deal effectively with these issues. 
  • The aim of the Appraisal is to assess the individual’s total performance. Consider performance in relation to all the specific responsibilities of the job, taking into account their relative importance. Don’t zero in on one responsibility only. And don’t focus on one or two incidents that happen to stand out in your memory. Try to consider performance in all areas of the job over a significant period of time, eg: the last Appraisal. 
  • The halo effect. A major detrimental dynamic in a Performance Appraisal discussion, occurs when the Front Line leader holds very positive, or very negative, views about the employee’s performance in the recent past. For example, satisfying a customer last week overshadows many months of mediocre or lacklustre customer satisfaction levels. 
  • Performance assessment is made in relation to the individual’s accomplishments in the job. Subjective factors — such as your like or dislike of the employee or your knowledge of his/her private affairs — have absolutely no place in a Performance Appraisal discussion.  
  • The interview is not the place to make decisions concerning difficult salary problems. This is a separate step and requires the consideration of factors that go well beyond the current Performance Appraisal discussion. Do not let your knowledge of existing salary problems affect your objective assessment of performance. (Some of the factors you may wish to take into consideration at salary review time are the accuracy of the job evaluation, the employee’s past performance, future organizational plans and comparison of this employee’s salary with that of others in the organization.) 

Pitfalls to Avoid in Conducting Performance Appraisals 

  • Halo effect - seeing only the good
  • Horns effect - seeing only the bad 
  • Recency effect - considering only recent performance rather than entire appraisal period 
  • Personal bias - can be positive or negative for the employee (an organizational negative) 
  • Distortion - improper (too much or too little) emphasis on certain performance 
  • Organizational culture - historical value placed on appraisal in some way 
  • Central tendency - tending to mark only middle values, avoiding marking extremes 
  • Similar-to-me - rating those most like yourself higher than those who are different 
  • Stereotypes - allowing stereotypical views to influence ratings given (e.g. seeing some jobs as best performed by men, other jobs best performed by women, etc.) 
  • Contrast - ratings based upon a perceived or desired rank rather than job 
  • Standards (e.g. a supervisor rates all employees lower than self or applies a desired ranking of employees then makes scores fit

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Why Good Employees Leave

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Employees leave employers for many reasons. A certain level of employee turnover can be expected for reasons over which the employer has little or no control. For example, individuals may choose to further their education, relocate to another community, get married or change their life priorities. People may also leave because another organization offers more salary and/or benefits; or a more engaging job prospect. These reasons are understandable and, likely acceptable as long as the turnover percentage is not too high. Under normal circumstances, there is little need for concern over what is considered a normal turnover rate in your industry or community

Competent employees who enthusiastically engage with your culture and the work you do are hard to find. Retaining the commitment of these employees should be a significant leadership and Human Resource priority. When talented employees leave, at least three negative messages race through the grapevine about Front Line Leaders and/or the senior leadership team itself:

  • They do not treat talented people well, 
  • Pronouncements about being competitive in its salary and benefit programs are just lip service, and 
  • Hype, promoting walking-the-talk about its Values and Guiding Behaviours, are just meaningless words. 

The rumour mill is reinforced with negative messages, about your Positive Employee Relations program, every time a good performer leaves. So, why do good performers leave for reasons that are ostensibly in the employer’s control? The reasons can be categorized around three topics, in order of priority: 

  1. careers, 
  2. relationships, and 
  3. economics. 
1. Careers 

The concept of careers may vary widely from company to company and from employee to employee. However, the universal underpinning of careers involves: 

  • a healthy and hopeful future, 
  • job expansion and/or advancement,
  • breadth of job responsibilities, 
  • degree of authority and level of accountability, 
  • problem solving and decision-making, 
  • education or competency development, and 
  • innovation and creativity. 

Front Line leaders and next-level managers should dismiss the false premise that the concept of career applies only to individuals in technical, professional and/or leadership roles. The desire for a positive and hopeful job future, regardless of position, is a universal truth. 

2. Relationships 

There are four key reasons behind relationships leading to employee departures: 

  • Relationships with the Front Line leader. If the relationship with a Front Line leader is not built on a foundation of mutual respect, trust, and transparency, it is doomed to repetitive cycles of dysfunctional behaviours. For example, if such a scenario where to take place and a qualified employee where promoted, the negative consequences can still include: 
  • lack of respect for one’s leader, 
  • long-term personal bitterness and regrets, unacceptable performance and unfulfilled potential, and 
  • in extreme cases, actively-dysfunctional behaviour such as white-collar crimes or industrial sabotage. 

When characterized by little mutual respect and trust, an employee’s working relationship with a Front Line leader is forced into one of compromised Values. The resulting dysfunctional norms often cause the employee to behave in ways that may satisfy their Front Line leader while conflicting with their own beliefs. In such a stilted relationship, creativity, innovation and free-and-easy dialogue become much more difficult – if not impossible. By instinct, the employee must guard against spontaneity as this may overstep the unwritten norms of the relationship.

  • Mentoring/coaching relationships. Mutual respect is essential for the success of coaching and mentoring programs. Without respect, why would anyone place their career progression in the hands of their next-level manager or their organization? Respect transcends performance. Regardless of how successful the employee is, if the relationship doesn’t move beyond the simplistic black-and-white of performance, neither the employee nor the Front Line leader is going to give wholehearted commitment to the process. The investment in coaching and mentoring is both professional and personal; without the give and take inherent in respectful and trusting relationships, the dynamic will not work. •
  • Peer relationships. A study of at-work relationships also includes employees’ interactions with their peers. Most people seek collaboration, not competition, with their colleagues.

A work environment where competition is supported by senior leaders frequently leaves employees on their own, fending for themselves with little support, no advice on past experiences, and no synergy. Information is power and there is no benefit in sharing that information, not even for the good of the organization. Why? Because the employer is always a secondary priority; an individual’s career aspirations and achievements are the first priority. Competition – for its own sake - within the organization, develops silos and prompts team players to leave. 

  • Hostile relationships If a Front Line leader cannot make a positive and sustained difference in the performance of his/her job because of hostilities between: 
  • themselves and other Front Line leaders, 
  • themselves and next-level managers,
  • themselves and charismatic employees, or 
  • employees and employees, 

The Front Line leader’s long-term relationships are immediately questionable. If the time and energy necessary for a turnaround is significant, a newly-hired Front Line leader may leave. 

Most people would want to leave an environment that is hostile to the intentions of management, internally competitive, or lacking in respect and trust among peers. Employees, irrespective of their status in the hierarchy, may stay long enough to gain specific experience, training or a title that will embellish their resume. However, they will always be another turnover statistic waiting to happen. 

3. Economics 

In the case of a newly-hired employee, compensation should never be the primary cause of voluntary departure. Front Line leaders should have confidence in the salary/wage and benefit systems and believe the higher rate is competitive and acceptable to the employee. If not, the employee would have negotiated further, not accepted the position in the first place, or unfortunately has accepted the position under false pretences. 

An employer who lowers the hire rate in a labour market where there are more candidates than jobs is buying a short-term gain that will lead to long-term pain. The ethical reality of such a situation is so poor that turnover may be the employer’s naive strategy for union avoidance. Such behaviours are grounded in greed, not Positive Employee Relations. 

In most organizations sound compensation practices are based on internal comparisons and evaluations of positions and a study of compensation in the community to determine salary ranges. 

When an organization, with generally sound compensation practices, is experiencing economic-driven employee turnover, senior leadership should address: 

  • Is compensation based on an accurate comparison with your industry and the geographic labour market? 
  • Where was the comparison line drawn — at the 50th percentile or at the 75th percentile? 
  • Are wage/salary determinations made equitably based on a reasonable assessment of performance and potential? 

The technology to determine marketplace compensation ranges is well within the capabilities of most organizations. A sound compensation strategy requires a judgment call to be made by the senior leadership team regarding which survey data to use and which percentile to benchmark. In other words, how competitive do you wish to be in your labour market? 

Objectively, this decision is linked to the organization’s Values, its Strategic Business Plan and the calibre (e.g. competency levels, advancement potential, etc.) of employees it wishes to recruit and retain. Unfortunately, the decision regarding percentile is often influenced more by short-term financial results than by a long-term business strategy. Lowering the percentile, for example, from the 75th to the 50th, will impact positively the bottom line in the short-term. Such a tactic will negatively impact employees’ bottom line (their take home pay). 

If there is a positive goodwill balance in the organization’s ‘trust and respect’ account with the employees, the event may pass, in the short term, with little more than a brief explanation. However, if the organization’s ‘trust and respect’ account is in arrears, employees will likely have little sympathy for such a move and the top performers will begin to contemplate leaving. Once good will leaves the relationship, mediocrity is a normal outcome. 

If the organization’s ‘trust and respect’ account is in arrears, employees will likely have little sympathy for such a move and the top performers will begin to contemplate leaving. This is another example of an outcome that leads to mediocrity. If the resulting dissatisfaction has great significance, the result will have more negative consequences – signing union membership cards. 

If the compensation rates are appropriate (competitive within your community and industry), one of the main reasons employees voluntarily terminate is the method used to evaluate the worth of their past year’s performance. The process is likely disrespectful and/or insensitive to the individual’s perception of his/her contribution. Also, there is the potential that the employee’s performance was measured against difficult to define subjective factors (e.g. flexibility, dependability, adaptability, etc.) versus objective Performance Standards. 

Assuming most employees, most of the time, are willing to perform their job responsibilities well (or at least as well as they have been trained to do), tying a salary adjustment solely to a Performance Appraisal is problematic. Why? In many cases the size of the organization’s compensation budget is determined by many over-riding financial and economic factors that influence the bottom line before the employees’ contributions are considered. This means an employee who performed at an above-standard level of accomplishment may receive an increase of one or two percentage points above the rise in inflation or the cost of living. 

From the employee’s perspective, performance assessed at above standard is an endorsement of a personal and professional accomplishment. To then be told the reward for such an achievement is only a percentage or two above the norm is demoralizing, no matter how empathetic the Front Line leader may be. Without a cogent explanation by senior leadership, the employee has a limited number of options. The employee can leave to find a better-paying job; stay and try for more financial rewards, next year; or stay to become dissatisfied and turn against the organisation. 

In two out of the three scenarios, the employer loses.

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5 Characteristics of a Perfect Boss

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Source – Profiles International SBP TERAGRAM Coaching & Consulting Group – reprinted with permission

Some managers inspire and motivate, but many fail miserably to engage their employees. Some run a highly effective team, yet their employees live and work in fear. Some on the other hand, are just absolute disasters and a joke to leaders everywhere. Have you seen the movie Horrible Bosses? From the oppressive and aggressive bosses to abusive leaders, the entertainment industry seems to have created the ultimate formula for the "bad boss" character. With millions of books, DVDs, research papers, and solutions in the business world today, why can’t real managers understand how to be more effective? 

There are a wide variety of bosses, from the micro-manager to the non-existent boss. Here is one statement to TRULY believe -- people quit people, not jobs

The best bosses became great by taking a genuine interest for each and every team member. Not only do they want the company to succeed, but the individual employee as well. Happy employees = hardworking employees! Common sense, no? 

You’ve been surrounded with many tips and tricks for effective management and leadership skills. Here is a breakdown of “must-haves” for the perfect boss! Although no one is perfect, however an outstanding and awesome boss will be: 

1. A Communicator 
This point is number one for a reason! Talk to your team; tell them their goals and the goals of the organization. Be transparent! How in the world can you ever expect success if you don’t define what success means to your department and company? This can be daily, weekly, or bi-weekly, whatever suits your team and task list. Have weekly meetings, it keeps your people tuned in and engaged on what as a team have to accomplish each week. 

Apart from team goals, communicate your employees’ development with them. There is nothing more valuable in this world than feedback. The perfect boss will tell when an individual is doing a great job, let them know when they have dropped the ball, and what they need to work on in the future. 

2. A Leader 
Often, companies promote a top performer because of previous successes, without ever determining or assessing if that person is capable and suited to manage a specific team. True leaders are able to instill trust, provide direction, and delegate responsibility. Just because an employee reached a sales goal of one million last quarter, does not mean that he or she can manage or lead a team. The perfect boss will be a combination of a top performer with the skills and attributes to lead a team. 

3. Passionate 
Have extreme passionate about everything done, professionally and in your personal life. Don’t be an over-excited "cheerleading type" boss; the ideal boss will be excited about our mission, what we are trying to accomplish, and will instill this in their team members. 

4. A Relationship Builder 
Effective managers spend a significant amount of time and effort building a relationships with their people. Doing this builds trust and loyalty with your employees. It makes employees feel valued, and valued employees work harder. Offer rewards programs, teach new skills, and treat them with respect. Just because you’re not in an office environment does not mean you can forgo basic leadership. 

5. A Hard Worker 
No organization can run like a smoothly operated machine unless everyone knows how those moving parts work. A great manager will understand the flow of operations and be willing to do just as much work as their worker bees. Do not ask them to do something they would not do themselves. That will earn their respect.

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