Why Your Performance Appraisal Process Needs Better Leaders


Managers are being pulled in many different directions, especially when it comes to HR. It takes a lot of collaboration and at the same time, separation to ensure every function of the talent lifecycle is getting the attention and effort it needs to be successful. That’s why the ever changing role of HR poses a problem. The lines are getting blurred, and it’s leading us away from the role management is really supposed to play, which is to nurture and build the talent in their current workforce.

The pressure is on. Managers have a lot on their shoulders and having a successful performance appraisal process relies heavily on how it’s supported and used by the leadership team. Improving the performance appraisal process starts with examining what managers are doing as leaders to influence employee performance and aligning those efforts with the performance appraisal process the company imposes.

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Here are 3 reasons why managers must improve leadership skills to effectively facilitate the performance appraisal process combined with tips to get managers on the path to improvement!


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Employees are picky about how they receive feedback…

In a recent study done by leadership consultancy, Zenger Folkman, over half of respondents admitted to preferring corrective feedback over praise and 72% said they thought their performance would improve if managers provided corrective feedback. On the other hand, research by WorldAtWork indicates a positive correlation between employee recognition and retention, indicating praise is still a noteworthy contributor to influencing employee performance.


Ryan Mead, CEO of work values assessment platform, Vitru, explains, “Only 14% of organizations provide managers with the necessary tools for rewards and recognition. By praising quality work, workers know their time and skills are of value to the company. What are you using to accomplish this? Emails, intranets, desk visits? Use public acclaim for peers and management to witness.”

Tweet This: 72% of surveyed employees said corrective feedback would improve their performance. Have you tried this?

What’s a manager to do? Improve leadership skills by taking the time to craft feedback more constructively, with steps for employees to fix the issues. Zenger Folkman’s research found, “…suggestions for improvement, explorations of new and better ways to do things, or pointing out something that was done in a less than optimal way…” were received best by the majority of the respondents. Performance management systems with a journaling feature make it easy for managers to keep a documented record of their feedback and allows them to constantly improve how they craft feedback over time. Use the tools your system gives you! Or maybe consider getting a new one…


Managing performance isn’t just about fixing mistakes…

Managers also have to be concerned with how engaging their performance management practices are for employees. Engagement leads to increases in productivity, satisfaction and ultimately, retention, but it takes more than corrective feedback to ignite engagement.

Gallup research shows 67% of employees who strongly agree their manager helps them build on strengths are more engaged and the 2015 Strengths @Work survey reveals 71% of employees who believe their managers can name their strengths are significantly engaged at work.

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What’s a manager to do? Incorporate more career development discussions that explore and build on the strengths of employees. Having a heightened sense of what they are doing well will also enlighten them to what areas need improvement. This will condition your employees to continuously improve and with it, improve the performance appraisal process. Performance management systems with learning integration features make career development and strengths-building a priority and keeps managers on track with their employee’s performance.


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Employees thrive on accountability…

Here’s something fascinating: employees who strongly agree their manager is aware of the tasks and projects they are working on are seven times more likely to be engaged. Even more shocking is employees with managers who help set performance goals are 17 times more engaged. 17! Employees want to be held accountable and it’s much easier for them to stay on track with their performance goals if someone else is holding them directly accountable.

What’s a manager to do? Improve the performance appraisal process by putting forth a concerted effort to be aware of the projects your team is working on. Assist in the goal setting process and check back in over time to monitor progress on those goals. Use the tools of your performance management system to set reminders and deadlines, map out goals and keep documented record of individual progress.

Having the support and expertise of managers who lead is the first step in optimizing the performance appraisal process. Making sure managers don’t forget to dedicate their job to nurturing the current workforce will make every function of HR better, from recruiting to management.

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Download: The Truth About Performance Reviews

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