The Questions Most Leaders Have Never Asked

Guest post by Marcia Daszko:

It’s essential for courageous leaders to ask the bold, imperative questions about

performance appraisals! What’s our purpose and aim in using appraisals? What are our strategies? Are they effective? What are the outcomes? Do they help us get closer to our vision or further away? Do they help create collaboration and teamwork or internal competition? How long does it take for our managers and staff to implement this process? What are the results and outcomes? Do they help us have a robust, dynamic learning environment? Do they help us coach, mentor, and develop our people? Or do they instill fear and resentment?
Does management use performance appraisals to judge, blame, and rate individuals on their performance when instead, they need to be focused on how the system performs? What are the results of the system?

Many organizations across the U.S. have never asked these questions. They have adopted a process of judging, ranking, and rating their employees. The practice is mired in incorrect assumptions about the necessity of appraisals. Human resource and talent management departments justify this practice by assuming appraisals must be given for the organization to understand who needs to be:

· laid off if the company needs to cut costs

· terminated with documentation

· coached

· promoted

· aligned with the performance management tool (another fad?)

There are two significant umbrella issues that illustrate the devastating impact of using performance appraisals. First, most performance appraisals destroy people. When people feel judged, criticized, and blamed, they are not mentally engaged, motivated, happy, or healthy. Second, performance appraisals destroy the health and impair the success of organizations. When people are devastated, unappreciated, undervalued, or unrecognized
for their contributions, productivity decreases while absenteeism and turnover increase.

How many people love to get performance appraisals? Except for the few people who continually get great scores, the majority of employees are demotivated after receiving their appraisal. They resent the process and sometimes even the messenger. They disengage from the work they may have been happy with and withdraw their contributions and efforts. Even if they did well on the appraisal, they are often demoralized because they do not agree with some of the comments or their ranking or rating. Few things can build resentment faster than a performance appraisal gone awry—and most do go awry. Some people speak up; others speak with their actions. They withdraw and are no longer the vibrant contributors they once were until they find a new position and resign. Some are emotionally devastated and never recover.

How many people love to give performance appraisals? Most managers procrastinate getting their performance appraisals done and turned into HR. It’s often not a pleasant conversation between the manager and employee, especially when a manager feels like a judge of another person. Managers often feel compelled to point out flaws and criticize people. Even if they think that’s their job, it doesn’t feel good for either party.

Additionally, this process is time consuming and takes everyone away from their real work. Managers and employees are anxious. Even when the conversation is pleasant, one hurtful comment is often exacerbated.
A hardworking “star” employee can be traumatized when the manager’s appraisal doesn’t reflect the commitment the “star” has had. What is the cost of the performance appraisal process to an organization? Depending on the size of their department, managers can spend an average of two hundred hours per year completing, conducting, and reviewing appraisals for their employees.

At the minimum, let’s say that an organization with one hundred managers has an appraisal process that costs $20,000 in time (managers, employees, and HR documentation). Can you imagine the cost for organizations like the military, government agencies, universities, or public corporations with more than fifty thousand employees? It’s millions of dollars of waste! What can replace the waste? Leadership!

Marcia Daszko is the author of “Pivot Disrupt Transform” and a leading business strategist

and catalyst for leadership and organizational transformation. She believes and teaches innovation in leadership thinking. She has 25 years of proven success as a Founder and CEO of a consulting firm, Marcia Daszko & Associates, and is an executive team workshop facilitator. https://www.mdaszko.com/

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