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The Staff Appraisal is Dead

The Staff Appraisal is Dead
21 August 2014 James Dillon

Oh, no it is that time of year again! Appraisals are due and HR is already chasing you. What is the point of an appraisal when you see, speak to and manage the people in your team every day?  I have heard a rumour that the appraisal is now dead!

The old idea of an annual appraisal that goes through the motions is most definitely dead. You know the ones where the appraisal meeting that is squeezed in at the last minute or the one where nothing is really said or agreed or the ones that are not reviewed until the next appraisal. That is not to say the concept of appraisal and performance review is dead – they are very much alive and thriving in Exponential Training.

Appraisals at Exponential

The emphasis of Exponential-style appraisals is and has always been on performance, improvement and development. We use our appraisal and development meetings to support each other to be the best we can be. We use them to ensure that team members feel valued and are engaged in helping the team to deliver on our mission; they are also about ensuring everyone is undertaking some form of personal and/or professional development to help them now and in the long term.

Appraisal and the Exponential Business Plan

Appraisal and Development Reviews (ADR) support the business plan. Twice a year, everyone including the Managing Director, takes time out to review performance and development. There are never any surprises (well, unpleasant ones) as issues, challenges and performance are openly and fully discussed at team meetings, project meetings and during one-to-one meetings throughout the year. They help to connect individuals with the company goals and plans.

Appraisal and the Exponential Culture

ADRs are important because they allow time and space from the day-to-day noise and pressures enabling time for reflection and looking at things over a wider and longer time horizon. They are as much about short and medium performance as they are about long term career planning. They help to strengthen and develop the Exponential culture; they contribute to openness and help everyone to see how they are contributing to the company’s goals and future.

Appraisal and Exponential Forms

There is no magic appraisal form or system. The ADR form is merely a tool for capturing the discussions – writing up the review is the hardest part about the appraisal as it adds the least value to the process. The real value of Exponential’s ADR is as a development and continuous improvement process. It is what Tony Robins calls a ‘CANI’ process: CANI meaning Constant And Never-ending Improvement.

The gems of great ideas are explored in ADRs. Personal aspirations are discussed and plans to make aspirations a reality are discussed. Company plans and challenges are reviewed, discussed and ideas are fed into team planning meetings. All of this is captured in the moment on the ADR record – records do not have to be well-crafted grammatically accurate reports, but records of the moment!

Appraisal, Learning and Performance

As a training organisation, performance and development go hand-in hand. Performance is discussed and reviewed against agreed performance objectives. New objectives are discussed and agreed and any personal or professional development required to deliver on the objectives is agreed. Learning, performance and development are inter-related and serve to support and re-enforce each other. Much of the learning and development comes from agreeing new ways of working, new ideas, new projects and new experiences – although there is still room for some conventional-style training.

The next time you are looking at your appraisal process, why not take a moment to reflect on how effective your system is, why you have an appraisal process, how you will use the outcomes of appraisal meetings. Have a look at some of the Exponential tools and use or adapt them to meet the needs of your own organisation.

Download: Appraisal & Development Review – TemplateAppraisal Evaluation Questionnaire

James Dillon is Business Development Manager at Exponential Training and has over 5 years experience working with current and aspiring Managers, Coaches and Consultants. James works with both past and potential clients in order to help them find the right training & development solutions to meet their specific needs. You can contact James or connect through LinkedIn.


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