Following on from the thread on Perofrmance Management I thought I'd talk about the issue of consistency within Performance Appraisals.
A Consistent Approach
Supervisors and Managers who deliver inflated performance reviews to their employees are doing more harm than good. A solid performance review should identify areas for employee improvement, but giving employees inflated reviews can mkae improvement an uphill challenge. While delivering honest performance evaluation can be an uncomfortable task, it is one that must be done in order to help an employee improve.
The Problem with Inflated Performance Reviews
When a leader delivers an inflated perforamce review, the employee does not receive the correct message. This type of performance review takes all of the potential conflict out of discussion for the manager or supervisor when deliverying the feedback, but there is a price to be paid. While this solution may in fact, make the manager or supervisor feel good in the short run, the long term problems are only begining.
Employees move toward positive outcomes when they review their ratings and the comments made about their performance. If there is no criticism, the constructive criticism is written in a way that is complimentary, or the rating is inflated; employees will believe they no longer need to develop in that area. They will look upon that skill as successfully and completely developed, while the manager may require further effort for improvement. The manager or supervisor also runs the risk of conflict with his or her boss when the evaluation is reviewed. If the final signatory disagrees with the assessment, the manager or supervisor will be forced to defend his or her rating. The boss may require higher levels of productivity based on the review, or he or she may be asked to have the review rewritten.
Correcting the Problem
There are many ways to avoid or correct inflated performance reviews. When managers write performance reviews, they should not write them hastily. Taking several days to complete an evaluation allows managers to write, revise, reconsider, and review it from fresh perspectives. Each time the assessment is reviewed, the ratings can be moved up or down and the comments adjusted accordingly.
Even after an inflated performance review is delivered, there are steps that can be taken to correct the message. Correcting the problem can be more uncomfortable than giving the honest feedback initially; but, it is better to correct the message and the rating, if possible, than to allow the employee to believe they are doing better than they are. Managers should schedule additional coaching and mentoring sessions to discuss the employee's performance and create some short term expectations. Setting additional short-term goals can help turn the situation around.
Managers must ensure that every performance review they deliver is accurate and genuinely reflects the over all performance of their employees for the defined period. Constructive feedback can be difficult to give and receive, but it is better in the long run for everyone to deal with the truth up front. What employees choose to do after that will be up to them.
Tags: Performance Review, Performance Management, Appraisal Skills, Inconsistent ratings, scoring appraisals, PRP, Leadership, management, training, target