How can I ensure that a staff member who has lost his way contributes his fair share?
Q What should I do when some members of the team are not contributing to the same level as others? One employee in particular seems to have lost his way in recent months. How do I help to get him back on track?
A The use of formal performance appraisals can be very beneficial in managing such situations. A performance appraisal is an assessment of an employee's performance and potential and is a good opportunity to assess their development needs. They are an excellent opportunity to take an overall view of work content and volume and to look back on what has been achieved during the reporting period.
Such appraisals are also the best way to agree objectives for the next period.
The process benefits both staff, management and the business as it allows for clear communication in a two-way process, where both parties have equal opportunity to discuss the role, work performance, objectives and future goals.
As well as using this opportunity to give feedback to employees, it is also an opportunity for the company and the individual managers to receive feedback from employees.
When implementing a performance-appraisal system, it is important to plan in advance to ensure that employees have as much information as possible about the system.
This is vital to ensure that there is a positive approach overall to the process and to ensure that all staff are on board.
It should also be agreed in advance who should conduct the appraisals - for example, will the manager appraise all staff or will the department supervisors get involved? Often, the supervisor or manager who has the most interaction with the employee is the best person to conduct an appraisal, as they have a good insight into that employee's strengths and weaknesses.
In advance of the meeting, the appraiser should inform their employees that they will be conducting a review with them about one week in advance. The appraiser should provide the employee with the correct template paperwork and ask them to prepare a review of their own performance.
Once staff have completed the appraisal form and returned it to management, it should then be reviewed and assessed by the appraiser.
The appraiser should outline in their own notes if they would rate the staff member higher than what they have rated themselves in each relevant category.
Essentially, the appraiser will be preparing their own review of the employee's performance.
When conducting the meeting, both parties should be honest and fair in their review and feedback. Clear, relevant and achievable goals should be set for the year ahead and these should be agreed by both parties prior to the meeting concluding.
Following the correct process and using the right performance review forms ensures consistency in the process.
Conducting performance appraisals in your business has numerous advantages.
It enables a structured framework to record feedback, allows the appraiser to receive feedback and to give feedback to the employees on past performance and to set out objectives for the future.
It has positive effects such as improving staff motivation, performance and commitment to the company.
Characteristics of a poor review meeting involve the appraiser focusing on negatives and failures. A bad review meeting is one in which the appraisee leaves feeling demotivated by the process.
After the appraisal, it is important to follow up correctly:
- Arrange any necessary follow up meeting;
- Write up key points on the appraisal;
- Write up targets/objectives which have been agreed;
- Copy of all notes and forms to be placed in employees file;
- Plan to conduct another meeting in six months' time to ensure the staff member remains focused on achieving their objectives.
Caroline McEnery, is managing director of The HR Suite and a member on the Low Pay Commission. She is also author of 'The Art of Asking the Right Questions'. a manager's toolkit to all HR-related tips. Visit thehrsuiteonline.com for more information.
Sunday Indo Business