Deconstructing performance appraisals

Recently I could witness the performance appraisals of a fast growing medium size organization in a detached manner. As usual, some were happy for a while where as some others are unhappy and disillusioned. In a nutshell, tension, frustration, stress …lots of these emotions were in the air as usual. As a seasoned professional with more than thirty years of corporate experience, here are some simple and practical tips to deconstruct the traditional performance appraisals into performance Up-raisals.

Instead of re-inventing the wheel, let us build around the the globally accepted Q12 survey questions by Gallop as the yardstick for workplace health. Getting a high score on the Q12 survey by all team members is the dream of every manager or team leader. According to Gallop, an average score of 4.5 and above by your team members is an indication of the health of the work environment you have created for your team. Remember the famous saying “People join organizations and leave managers”. Remember the fact that for every employee, the immediate boss is the true representation of the organization. So, as a manager or team lead, if your team is scoring high on these 12 questions, you can be sure that you are in the right path as a boss and you are doing things right.

When that is the case, managers can proactively re-define their approach to team management in such a way to build up the average score. To be honest with you, this approach helped me to re-build a team which was at the point of disintegration in the past.

Here are the list of the famous Q12 survey, and the practical proactive tips to score high ranking from your team members

Q12 survey element Proactive management tips for the manager / team lead
1) I know what is expected of me at work.1. Spend more time in defining measurable goals.
2. Define the roles and responsibilities very clearly
3. Define the ground rules very clearly
2) I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.1. Proactive resource planning and budgeting
2. Negotiation skills
3) At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.1. Work allocation based on the strengths of people
2. Self organizing teams
3. Work volunteering
4) In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.1. Creating a culture of appreciation
2. Leading it by example
3. Developing servant leadership
4. De-linking appreciation and suggestions for improvement
5) My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.1. Have formal 121 meetings with team members where project issues and performance issues are not discussed. Instead focus on career aspirations, goals, feedback
2. Active listening
3. Strong faith in the fact that you are only as good as your team. You are dependent on your team than the team members dependency on you
6) There is someone at work who encourages my development.1. Formal training
2. Buddy programs
3. Progress monitoring outside the regular performance appraisal meetings
7) At work my opinions seem to count 1. Meeting norms
2. Active listening
3. Maturity to appreciate disagreements
4. Creating equal opportunities / environment for everyone to talk fearlessly
5. Elimination of halos
8) The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.1. Articulation of work and it’s connection to the organizations goals
2. Effective communication
9) My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.1. Transparency of work progress and ownership
2. Daily team meetings
3. Periodic team retrospectives
10) I have a best friend at work 1. Team building activities
2. Buddy programs
11) In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.1. Periodic formal 121 meetings with employees (outside the performance appraisal meetings) to assess progress and mutually agree on improvement measures
12) This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.When the 11 points above are taken care of, the 12th one will happen automatically.

As managers we are only as good as their teams. Without good team, we cannot accomplish much. People join organizations and leave managers. I have also seen situations where people follow great managers. An average score above 4.5 by the team in the Gallop Survey indicates that one is doing things right as a manager. One can proactively reverse engineer work styles and achieve high scores. That is the best part of it. By doing so, we can deconstruct stressful performance appraisals into joyful performance “upraisals” resulting in capable high performance teams. In the longer run, all that matters are the success stories of your product, organization, team members and You….

Key point – I do not write or speak anything which I have not experienced personally 🙂