Quarterly appraisals, focussed on feedback

In today’s world, talent is the most important asset that organisations have and it is increasingly becoming a competitive advantage. The workplace is undergoing a transformation with the evolving mindsets of the multi-generation workforce that functions in the market today. Due to changing nature of work and workforce, the industry is experiencing a shift from traditional performance assessment models.

Annual appraisals are no longer considered to be an effective way of assessing employee performance. The personnel these days are open and want to experiment with their careers to find the right place for them. This in turn, is transforming the human resource department and their ability to adapt to the ever changing needs of the talent market.

When employees have goals, they tend to be more motivated if they also receive feedback about their progress. Feedback may occur throughout the workday, but many organisations also have a formal, companywide process of providing feedback to employees. Currently, the concept of appraisals is moving away from traditional performance review methodology to a robust feedback mechanism.

It is inevitable to have multiple possibilities to communicate effectively and execute necessary changes. A quarterly appraisal which is more focussed on feedback rather than just performance is a great solution to address this situation. These appraisals are definitely a boon for the industry. Some of the benefits and advantages that quarterly appraisals provide

include:

• Managers are held accountable to link individual performance to larger business results and not just completing this as a mere documentation process;

• Quarterly cycle gives an opportunity to hold more meaningful conversations at shorter intervals;

• It is easier for employees and managers to track key performance highlights and misses if these are reviewed within a shorter time span;

• These quarterly reviews focus more on providing continuous improvement feedback rather than linking it to annual increment or meeting a pre-defined distribution curve;
• This is an excellent opportunity to evenly space out recognition programmes and use this as a source of motivation for employees;

• It provides an opportunity to have quick and effective recognition models to drive required behaviour;

• The whole exercise shifts from an administrative task to a more result-oriented, coaching driven and forward looking programme adding to overall success;

• It helps in identification of top performers and helps in implementing retention focused programmes timely;

• It helps both managers and direct reports to remain focused, achieve targets, and vastly improve their relationship;

• Mistakes are caught earlier and fixed and corrections are put in place to eliminate similar errors in the future.

Traditional models

Quarterly appraisals are an effective shift from the traditional models. Once performance appraisals are completed, the direct report is able to make a greater contribution and the manager is able to delegate more effectively. This gives the managers more time to fulfill their strategic role and manage more effectively. For a startup, this is a usual practice.

The competitive, high-growth environment they operate in has necessitated performance reviews two to four times a year and in some cases, even on a monthly basis. This is because startups are agile and open to experimenting. However, we are seeing various organisations experimenting further and looking at imple-menting newer practices like assignment based assessment model which would lead to real time tracking and more frequent feedback sharing.

That said, these processes may not be effective if not implemented well and if the acceptance is low across organisation. For these to be effective, it is important to have management buy in and an equally strong performance management system to ensure that this does not end up taking more administrative time and effort. The idea is to stay agile – in line with the digital culture – and have quick, iterative sessions to share feedback with employees.

Quarterly appraisals are surely a time and place to evaluate and change work assignments and goals. If utilised well and with the right approach, quarterly appraisals are definitely a boon. They would remain a bane for organisations that do not welcome change, but to be able to survive in today’s ever dynamic market, adapting oneself to the environment becomes a requisite.

(The writer is Director-Human Resource, Xavient Information Systems)

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