Can formal staff appraisal help boost business success?
Q: Should I be putting a formal appraisal system into my business as I have not operated one previously?
A: I have noticed in more recent times that there has been a rush of companies putting in appraisal systems. This is driven by a need to improve staff performance and communication within the business.
From the companies that I know that have undertaken this exercise, the response from staff has been very strong and resulted in increased levels of motivation.
It also led to staff feeling that they are on a more determined career path than they might have been in the past.
The most important thing about appraisals systems is that they are structured and well planned out.
Running meetings with staff at the last minute without the staff or you being prepared in advance is a recipe for disaster.
This will only compound negativity and end up giving you a result the opposite of what you set out to achieve.
There are lots of good external systems that you can buy into which provide the structure and advice necessary to run a successful appraisals system.
Your objective by putting the appraisal system into place should be that you end up with a more focused and motivated team which benefits the overall business.
Your staff need to view the appraisal system as something positive and exciting and something that they can benefit from.
Q: I am working hard to stimulate new growth in sales and profitability in my business but feel I am lacking structure and not making the progress that I could. Can you advise?
A: Great to hear you are breathing new energy into the business. I meet a lot of businesses in a similar situation. The recent change in the economic situation has encouraged businesses to move forward and strengthen their operations.
The best advice I can give you is to create a written plan of what needs to be done over the next 24 months.
I am stopping short at calling it a business plan. It should be more of an action-based sales growth plan and this document should set out all of the actions the business needs to take in order to achieve its goals.
You need to be strategic about putting it together, conduct a SWOT analysis on the business and also a competitor analysis. This will inform the actions you then need to take. Segment these actions under the various headings like marketing, staff training, infrastructure and equipment improvements, etc.
Get your team involved as well so that you can have as many contributors as possible.
Once the sales growth plan is completed, allocate tasks to individuals within the business and set deadlines for these. You can then use this document on a weekly basis with the team to monitor progress and get updates on the various different work streams.
What seems to be happening at the moment, is there is lots of well-intentioned activity but it is lacking in the structures necessary to get each of the work streams delivered.
I wish you well on your journey and I have no doubt your business will be much better because of this work stream.