Appraisal Skills Training: 7 Ideas for Recognising and Rewarding Employees

Employees like to feel that their contributions are both valued and recognised.

However sometimes we forget to congratulate or recognise the accomplishments and contributions of our employees

Many times this area is covered in our Appraisal Skills Training Workshop 

Here’s 7 ideas for doing just that

1) Informal recognition (e.g.. the informal pat on the back) can happen anytime.  

Question for you. Does it in your company?
A formal system should be based on measurement of results.
Recognising a good idea in an informal way is one thing.
A decision to give a recognition award should be based on proof that the initiative brought measurable results.
Set up the measurement process before and establish it’s credibility prior to recognition.

2) Get an employee team to determine recognition needs.

It’s often management teams that design and implements recognition strategies for employees. Change that.
Ensure that the team can present back to you what a recognition programme is to accomplish.
Now let them figure out how to get the information they need and design the programme
Management recognition can play a really important role.
However some of the most valuable recognition comes as a result of peer judgment.

3) The higher the monetary value of any “award” the more careful you should be

Too much competitive spirit can, if not managed, lead to conflict and bad feelings.
If this could be a problem you may want to look to team based rewards.
A recognition system should be aware that today’s workplace requires a high level of teamwork and coordination with other employees.
In a sense any individual achievement or contribution has usually been helped along directly or indirectly by colleagues too.
“Stars” do need recognition, but so do team members.

4) Think of recognition as a system

It’s a process that uses many ways of sending the same message —
“We (I) see the good work you do…we value it…we appreciate it.
Plan your recognition systems to include formal and informal things…
Try occasional formal rewards, and have lots of informal interpersonal stuff…pats on the back.
Don’t make the mistake of relying only on a once a year award of something.

5) Give managers some wiggle room.  

The manager (or supervisor) sets the tone for informal recognition.
Give them a budget for chocolate, gadgets, wine , dinners-out etc
By publicly recognising achievement or effort, they get the message across that “we celebrate our effort and our accomplishments”.

6) Don’t recognised people for “Doing something”.  

Recognise “Accomplishing something”.
Encourage an emphasis on results rather than work done. Focus on what you want.

7) Make recognition a standard and integrated part of any staff meetings.

Ask the question: “What wonderful things have we accomplished since our last meeting?”
Encourage people to talk about their own accomplishments, and to talk about those of their colleagues

What do you think about our seven ideas?

People Management: How can you create change resistant employees?

How can you create change resistant employees?

We could start our discussion with the individuals, they may well be change-resistant when they arrived in your team. It may well be that over their careers that the individuals concerned may well have had a bad experience with change. There is nothing that you can do to change history. Whatever went before will have clearly influenced them positively or negatively. Your only defence can be your hiring processes but that’s for another day.   However there are indications and experiences that indicate how we manage employees can in itself create change-resitant employees and indeed a change-resistant environment.

However let’s take a look at a sequence how we might go about creating a change-resistant employee

Managers start with Poor Communication of Performance Measures,Processes, Policies

Managers focus on what to do and how to do it instructions rather than agreeing SMARTer objectives  Rainmaker e-book Agreeing Objectives and allowing room for employee ideas and innovation. This results in the employee having a lack of understanding of how to contribute. Their tendency is become a “human doing” rather than a “human being”

Managers deliver little regular relevant feedback:

The employee begins to feel neglected and develops “No one cares / Anything will do / It doesn’t matter” attitude.
They begin to not come up with ideas for improvement, they see good performance go unrewarded and bad performance ignored and move to do the bare minimum of the role

Managers become frustrated with the employees minimumal performance

To accomplish their own performance goals they use more direct commands Managers resort to more directive leadership styles designed to force employee compliance

Managers now see that employees only respond to the directive approach and issue a series of operational rules and regulations designed to force the worker to perform

Employees begin to resist changes and initiatives

They begin to think that managers are overbearing and take away their ability to conduct the job as they see fit. The employee uses both passive resistance (just not doing things) or active resistance and become obstructive and argumentative

Unfortunately if left the cycle repeats itself.

There is a better way. What do you think?

Appraisal Skills Training: How can Employees help at Performance Appraisal time?

How can Employees help at Performance Appraisal time?

Sometimes Performance Appraisals / Employee Evaluations or Performance Reviews end up as a total waste of time.
Sometimes I think they can actually reduce performance.

How does that happen?

The answer is of course it’s sometimes untrained managers, sometimes unaware human resources teams and sometimes it’s what the employees do that can sabotage the process.

We cover this on our Appraisal Skills Training Workshop and Employee Briefings

Let’s take a look at employees and how we can improve their contribution

1. Don’t focus on filling in the Performance Appraisal Forms

Performance appraisal should not be about the forms .
They are only the vehicle and occasionally the proof, that an appraisal was done.
The purpose of performance appraisal is to allow employees and managers to both continuously improve and to remove barriers (get rocks off the runway) to job success.
Forms are simply a way or recording basic information for later reference.
If the focus is getting the forms “done”, without thought and effort, the whole process becomes a waste of time.

2. Prepare Beforehand

Employees need to be active and constructive participants in the performance appraisal process. Performance appraisals work best when employees understand the process, prepare, and see the benefits of being engaged in it. Preparing for performance appraisal helps the employee focus on the key issue – performance improvement, and to examine their performance in a more objective way Employees when preparing can identify barriers they faced in doing their jobs, relook at their job descriptions, job responsibilities, and review themselves against any job performance expectations or objectives agreed with the manager.

3. Don’t be too Defensive

We tend to take our jobs seriously and personally, making it more difficult to hear others’ comments about our work, even when it is constructive criticism. If employees enter into the discussion with an attitude of “defending their corner”, then it can be difficult to create the dialogue necessary for performance improvement. Employees should present their own opinions and perceptions. However if they do present them do so in a calm, factual manner, rather than a defensive, emotional way.

4. Communicate during the year for no surprises

Employees need to know how they are doing all year round, not just at appraisal time. It is primarily their managers responsibility to ensure that there are no surprises at appraisal time. Many managers discuss both positives and negatives of employee performance throughout the year, however this is unfortunately, not a universal practice. It’s in the employees interests to open up discussion about performance during the year, even if the manager does not initiate it. The sooner employees know where they are, and what they need to change (or keep doing), the sooner problems can be fixed. Many problems can be prevented if they are caught early enough. Even if managers aren’t creating that communication, employees can and should. We believe it’s a shared responsibility.

5. Clarify if you are not sure

If managers were perfect, life would be much easier. Some communicate and explain well. Some don’t. Safe to say that at times employees won’t be clear about their managers’ reasoning or suggestions. That could be because the manager isn’t clear themselves or simply isn’t very good at explaining. However, unless employees clarify when they aren’t sure about the reasoning or explanations, they won’t know what they need to do to improve their future job performance. It’s important to leave the appraisal meeting having a good understanding of what’s been said and even why. If that’s not possible clarification can occur a little later if that’s more appropriate.

6. Don’t allow the performance appraisal to be a one way communication.

Performance appraisals work best when both participants are active, and expressing their positions and ideas. Managers should be creating a climate where employees are comfortable. However some managers may need a little help because they just aren’t good at it. Performance appraisal time is an excellent time for employees to make suggestions about things that could be changed to improve performance. They should also come armed with ideas about how to remove barriers to job success, and ways to increase productivity. Remember that managers can’t read minds. The better managers will work with employees to help them do their jobs more effectively. This is really helped if employees provide them with good, factual information, or, even better, concrete ideas.

7. Don’t view Performance Appraisal time as Pay-Rise discussion time

Unfortunately, many organisations tie employee pay to appraisal results, which can put employee and manager on opposite sides of the table. Employees in such systems tend to focus too much on the money component, although we understand why. It’s also understandable that employees in such systems become hesitant to reveal shortcomings or mistakes. Employees can sometimes take a view that their main purpose is to squeeze as much of an increase out of the company. Managers then tend to take up the opposing view and try to keep increases as small as possible. This makes it totally impossible to focus on what ultimately matters over the long term, which is continuous performance improvement and success for everyone. Pay IS important, but it should not the only issue related to the appraisal focus. If employees enter into the process willing to defend their own positions in factual and fair ways, and to work with managers, the process can become much more pleasant.

Summary: Responsibilities for performance appraisal tone and climate rest with managers, human resources and employees. The key is for employees to participate actively and assertively, but to keep a problem-solving mindset, and keep focused on how things can be improved in the future. It does not really matter who initiates it, performance appraisal are about positive open, honest, job focused communication between employee and manager.