remote HR Archives - Striven

How to Give Performance Appraisals That Inspire Employees to Grow

Many managers know the importance of giving performance appraisals but also find it a challenging task to accomplish. It can be difficult to be objective and constructive when critiquing someone’s position and responsibilities. Not only that: performance reviews have a big impact on motivation, and getting them wrong can be costly. 

Research shows that only 10.4% of employees whose manager’s feedback left them with negative feelings feel engaged at work. Four out of five began looking for a new job as a result. 

The goal of a performance appraisal should always be to help the employee improve as well as acknowledge their value to the company. With that in mind, here are some tips for giving appraisals that inspire employees to grow.

Why are performance appraisals necessary?

First of all—what is a performance appraisal?

Performance appraisals are a formal way of evaluating an employee’s work. They usually take the form of a meeting in which the employee and manager discuss the employee’s strengths and weaknesses and come up with a plan for how the employee can improve.

Performance appraisals are important because they provide feedback that allows employees to understand how they’re doing and where they need to grow in their position. They also help to establish a baseline against which future performance can be measured.

Performance appraisals are also great for boosting motivation because they provide a roadmap for growth in a role. Workers feel motivated when their progress is recognized, and when they feel their role within the organization has growth potential. Nobody likes to feel stuck. Quite often, an employee that seems lazy is just unmotivated—and that’s something you can fix.

employee performance evaluation

How to Give Performance Appraisals That Inspire Employees to Grow

Here are some actionable tips to help you provide feedback that will guide and motivate your employees

1. Start by setting the right tone

The way you approach a performance appraisal can make all the difference in terms of how the employee perceives it. If you go into the meeting with a critical attitude, the employee is likely to feel defensive and may not be willing to listen to your feedback and even hesitate to openly communicate.

On the other hand, if you start the meeting by praising the employee’s strengths, they’re more likely to be receptive to what you have to say. Frame the appraisal as an opportunity for growth, rather than a critique, and the employee will likely be more motivated to listen.

A positive reinforcement model can be used to spur employee growth. This means praising the employee for any steps they take towards improvement, even the small achievements.

2. Focus on personal growth over the business goals

While it’s important to discuss the employee’s role in relation to the business goals, remember that this is a personal growth opportunity for them. Help the employee to see how they can improve their skills and contribute more effectively to the team. 

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about the business at all; their personal goals should be given context. Also, help them to see their importance in the bigger picture—while letting the employee know that you are invested in their personal development.

3. Set expectations early on

It’s important to set expectations early on in the appraisal process. This means discussing what is expected of the employee during the meeting, and what you hope they’ll walk away with.

This also gives the employee a chance to prepare for the meeting so they can provide their input regarding how to improve.

4. Offer constructive and actionable feedback

One of the most important aspects of a performance appraisal is giving constructive feedback. This means providing feedback that is specific, actionable, and goal-oriented, rather than general comments like “you need to work harder.”

Make sure your feedback is relevant to the employee’s goals, and help them to see how they can improve their skills in the future.

Hearing critical feedback is always hard—but if you frame it positively and include a path forward for the employee, they’ll come away feeling motivated, rather than disheartened.

Delivering negative feedback can be difficult, but it’s important to do it in a way that inspires employees to grow. Here are a few tips:

  • Before giving any negative feedback, first praise the employee’s strengths
  • Don’t dwell too much on the past
  • Offer a positive to every negative

One of the best ways to give helpful feedback is to make sure that it’s relevant to the employee’s goals. Help them to see how their current skills can help them reach their goals, and provide concrete improvement steps.

When giving feedback, use the SMART framework—an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

smart business model to guide goals infographic

This makes it easier for the employee to get their head around what’s expected of them. It also provides them with a roadmap to get there, which helps to keep them motivated.

Using the SMART framework, you can easily track employee progress and if they are headed towards their goals.

5. Make negative feedback specific

When critiquing someone’s work, it’s important to be specific. Rather than saying “You need to work on your communication skills,” give examples of specific incidents where the employee could have communicated better.

This will help to paint a clear picture so the employee fully understands how to do their job better.

Here are two examples of highly specific feedback

– “This is the first time I’ve noticed you checking your phone during meetings. Is there anything going on in your personal life that requires your attention?”

– “In a team meeting, you addressed only one aspect of what someone said. Could you make sure to cover all sides? Here’s a way to do this that I find helpful…”

6. Work with relevant employee data

Using data can help to back up your feedback and provide the employee with concrete evidence of where they need to improve. Make sure your data is accurate—no one wants to be judged unfairly.

If you have access to relevant employee data, it can be helpful to use it during a performance appraisal. This could include things like their attendance record or how they’ve performed in relation to specific goals. Thankfully, there are tools available that can help to make the process of data collection and analysis easier.

Employee management tools and time-tracking platforms provide invaluable performance data that can be used in appraisals. It can also be used to assign tasks and track metrics—something that’ll come in extra handy the next time appraisal time rolls around.

Giving a performance appraisal does not have to be stressful, for you or your employees. When giving one, keep the above tips in mind to help ensure your performance appraisals are successful and inspire employees to grow.

If you found this article helpful, please share it on your social media channels.

Can HR Still Be Human From a Distance?

In this new socially distanced work environment, we’ve all learned a lot about how we work. Drafting emails, creating spreadsheets, and communicating with clients has transitioned relatively smoothly to the home office, albeit with a brief adjustment period. 

What about Human Resources? Along with sales and customer service, HR divisions are most responsible for serving people. They onboard new employees, share vital company policies, navigate tricky workplace issues, and even handle terminations. Done remotely, the most “human” parts of this crucial department are, at best, awkward. At worst, they’re dangerous. Goals of a remote HR division include emphasizing organization, efficiency, and—most of all—empathy. So what do HR professionals need to keep in mind as they continue to adapt to a remote environment?

HR Needs To Be More Human Than Ever

individuals that gain from using all in one business management software

The duties of HR professionals have shifted and expanded overnight. Making sure employees are able to access their health benefits is more crucial than ever. The same goes for ensuring timely paychecks. On top of meeting professional expectations, HR professionals have been tasked with the tall order of maintaining and cultivating a remote office culture to keep employees fresh and motivated.

While the pillars of HR professionals remain intact, their workload, methods, and need for additional support have increased exponentially. The focus of their work during this pandemic can be summed up simply: be a support system for the human needs of employees as they adapt to life in a remote office. 

Lisa Rowan, research vice president for HR, talent, and learning strategies at IDC, a Massachusetts based research firm, says in an article for SHRM that an “HR managers’ number one job right now is to keep people up-to-date, be reassuring and build trust.” When employees feel connected and cared for, their productivity will reach new heights.

Getting Organized Out of the Office

During any major transition, especially one of this magnitude, it can be easy to slip into a pattern of disorganization. As HR teams work to meet the ever-shifting needs of employees, their role is to create a well-organized infrastructure of collaboration and connectivity. Even without an office, it’s possible to have a centralized virtual location that employees can access each day.

all in one business management software in puzzle piece form

Maintaining a singular, fluid schedule of your employees’ hours, appointments, sick days, client visits, and whatever else fills their workday will cut down on wasted time. Everyone always appreciates a good “happy birthday” wish, too. 

Organized information is easily accessible information. When employees can’t simply walk down the hall to get answers on company policies, they’ll need a clear, centralized place to access documents.

Great Tech Breeds Great Talent

By now, we’ve certainly endured the struggles of the hiring process. Acquiring top talent has never been easy, let alone in the age of COVID-19. Most likely, a face-to-face interview has traditionally been the cornerstone of the hiring process. 

Hiring applicants who fit seamlessly into your company’s culture is crucial to the success of your business. It can certainly be tough to judge if someone is a good fit without being able to sit down with them in person. Being forced to deviate from the normal hiring process is scary, but hiring the wrong person is scarier

vector image of two shaking hands after using all in one business management software

In the age of remote hiring, being able to easily track the status of your applicants is essential. HR Teams can work on keeping all of your applicants’ pertinent documents (resume, cover letter, samples of work, etc.) in one, easily accessible place. This goes for documents such as tax paperwork and personal identification once they are hired, too.

Handling Difficult Decisions

As tough as it is to hire the right talent, it’s even tougher when the hand you’ve been dealt calls for a reduction in your employee headcount. HR departments have unfortunately been the bearers of bad news lately.

Strategic Planning

Since the onset of the pandemic, 76% of US companies have had to let employees go, with many not knowing whether they’d return. That’s a scary statistic. Layoffs are painful—and due to COVID-19—often out of your control. When it’s time to make these difficult decisions, it’s best to be concise and streamlined. 

But HR doesn’t have to make the process any more difficult than it already is. Make sure that sensitive information that now-former employees could access does not travel with them to their next job. That means being able to revoke access to data, both instantly and remotely.

Eyes On The Future

In today’s unstable business environment, Human Resources professionals can still be just that: resources for humans. By creating an efficient, effective, and organized virtual environment, HR teams can continue to prioritize the well-being of employees. Doing so requires the right tools, especially when you need to be prepared more quickly than usual.