[Blog 48] Coaching is a better alternative!
More and more organisations are doing away with annual appraisals and formal performance reviews. Here is why coaching might be a better alternative.
HR and L&D professionals have now highlighted that it’s time to abandon performance reviews and annual appraisals. The claim is that these processes are lengthy process of the 20th century manual work and have no relevance to today’s knowledge economy.
There are some evident challenges. For example, how does HR ensure managers’ views of subjective qualities such as ‘excellent, ‘average’, are the same?
There are some organisations and HR Consultants that produce literature that details the level of behavioural indicators to observe. However, such techniques didn’t survive as busy managers wanted something easy to work with. When implementing performance review, the challenge is always on HR to assess how to prevent unfair perception which destroys employee motivation and how to prevent busy people manager from bending or gaming the system to suit themselves.
Removing performance reviews
Many organisations have now started to minimise their focus on annual performance reviews and switched to app/common digital platform where managers can key in frequent feedback.
Big organisations like Accenture, IBM, Adobe all claimed formal performance reviews to be expensive, time consuming and ineffective.
The ideology behind this on-going feedback system is that if managers coach their people properly they can hold them accountable for their performance and develop them at the same time.
Substituting the formal, bureaucratic approach with less formal but more immediate and ongoing feedback sessions or regular chats is seen to be more effective and engaging for both the managers and their team. It is also a good measure for HR to look into as HR can gain more insights compared to just relying on the annual appraisals which may end up loosing information of experiences occurred throughout the year.
Go with Coaching!
In the growing demographics of employees, more dialogue and less processes is more appreciated, but there must be some element of consistency so that managers know what the focus is and their team get a consistent experience and the organisation has some overview of people performance.
Taking the popular GROW coaching framework as a guide, we can see it contains all the four elements that needs to be addressed in a good performance review discussion.
Setting your goals
When we do goal setting, we can combine the targets, KPIs etc. that the organisation requires, alongside the goals the individual can accept in order to make their contribution towards the organisation objective. Managers will no longer be reviewing goals in December that were set in January. These goals will be reviewed every quarter as the business operates leaving room for a practical and accurate assessment of the employee.
A good coaching session will take time to show its effectiveness in reality. The idea behind this is to raise non-judgmental awareness so that the individual begins to accelerate their ability to learn from their own experience. Dwelling into traditional performance management systems may cause the managers to loose sigh of the real challenges faced in the present and future as they will always need to look back.
Training and Development is no longer just reaching for a brochure and finding a course to send someone on, but considering a range of on-the-job learning experiences, shadowing opportunities and so on. A lot more can be learned on site than being sent for external courses which will then leave the employees wondering how to implement what they have learnt.
With this approach, we can turn thoughts into planned actions and, where appropriate, drill down to level of completion dates, milestones, lists of stakeholders etc.
A good review type conversation may start with a discussion around what is happening now and end with Goal setting. Nor is there any need for hours of time in meeting rooms, or consistency checks by HR and senior management on whether the performance review is done appropriately.
How do you start this?
First thing HR should do is focus more on coaching than performance review.
Communicate this policy clearly to your managers and remind them that a good coaching conversation, that can take place as part of daily work rather than a separate activity, answers the five questions above and will result in people feeling much more focused on their priorities and far more motivated.
HR can organise a series of ‘How to carry out coaching’ sessions for line managers and save a huge cost, time and effort on random performance reviews.
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