6 Appraisal Practices that will Boost Employee Performance
Whether you’re a first-time manager or a seasoned pro, performance appraisals are always a tricky business. You want to be able to give your team members the feedback they need to improve their skills and increase performance, but you also don’t want to come across as too critical.
However, if done correctly, performance appraisals can be a great way to boost employee morale and productivity. Here are six appraisal practices that will help you get the most out of your team.
Why practice giving better praise anyway?
It might sound silly and like the least of your worries – but it’s not.
We all know that feedback is important. After all, how else are we supposed to know what we’re doing right or wrong?
Because while criticism is vital, praise is just as essential—if not more so. Here’s why praising your employees is so important and can increase employee performance.
As any parent knows, children respond much better to praise than they do to criticism. The same is true for adults. We are wired to crave positive reinforcement and to react negatively to criticism.
But most courses and books are about delivering hard or negative messages in the best way possible. Where’s all the content on giving praise? Right here. Here’s why you want to practice your praise-giving. You want to engage your employees, help them reach their full potential, and of course – you want them to thrive and become more and more efficient.
Looking for ways to boost morale at work? Pizza parties might not be the answer. Praise naturally boosts morale and makes people feel appreciated. Feeling like your work is valued is a key component of job satisfaction, so it stands to reason that praising your employees will make them happier and more likely to stick around.
If you’re looking for ways to motivate your team, don’t skip praise! Praising your employees publicly — whether in team meetings, company-wide memos, or even on social media — can serve as encouragement for others.
When people see that their hard work is being recognized, they’re more likely to put in the extra effort themselves in the hopes of receiving similar recognition. And when you have a motivated workforce, good things are sure to follow. Thus, you’ll have happy employees and a huge productivity boost.
Finally, praising your employees allows you to provide specific feedback to help them improve. When done right, praise is detailed and thorough, rather than vague and general.
For example, instead of saying “Great job on that presentation,” try “I loved the way you organized the information and delivered it engagingly.” Not only will this let your employee know that you noticed and appreciate their hard work, but it will also give them concrete feedback that they can use to improve their performance in the future. This will not only increase productivity among team members but will also make them more creative and out-of-the-box thinkers.
How to become a pro at giving praise
We don’t need you to practice giving a pat on the back. Becoming better at rewards and recognition is more practical than you think. Here’s what to keep in mind:
When it comes to employee perks, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The best perks for your company will depend on your business’s size, budget, and industry. However, there are a few general tips that you can keep in mind when choosing employee perks.
The best place to get ideas for employee perks and appraisal tactics is straight from the source: ask your employees!
Find out what your employees value most. Do they value time, money, or experiences? If they value time, then perks like flexible scheduling or telecommuting might be a good fit.
If they value money, then benefits like tuition reimbursement or vouchers might be a good fit. And if they value experiences, then perks like free tickets to events or company outings might be a good fit.
Second, think about what your company’s core values are. Your employee perks should align with your company’s values so that your employees feel like they’re living those values every day. For example, if one of your company’s values is ‘innovation,’ then you might want to consider offering employees perks like unlimited paid time off or funding for side projects. This can only boost morale and productivity as well-rested employees will be able to come up with fresh ideas.
Finally, don’t forget to consider the logistics of each perk. Make sure that you can actually implement each perk without it causing undue stress on your team or costing more than you can afford. Perks that are too complicated or too expensive to implement are not worth offering.
2. Set clear goals and expectations
Before you can even begin thinking about performance appraisals, you need to make sure that your team members know what is expected of them. This means setting clear goals and objectives for them to accomplish. That’s how you will know when it’s appropriate to give praise, and sets expectations for them of when to expect it.
Once these goals have been set, be sure to communicate them to your team in a way that is both clear and concise. If possible, try to use specific numbers and target dates so that your team knows exactly what they need to do and when they need to do it.
Take it as far back as your hiring process. Don’t ask people to go above and beyond or mention ‘hard-working, goal-getters in the job description. As early on as you can, lay out what daily targets and monthly KPIs are.
Giving feedback should not be a once-a-year event. If you want your team members to improve, you need to give them feedback on a regular basis. Talk about ways and ideas to get more efficient, ask them – how they see themselves improving their overall performance, and what do they expect from their managers and higher-ups? The feedback should always go both ways if you want efficient communication and an increase in productivity.
This doesn’t mean that you need to nitpick their every move, but you should let them know when they’re doing something right or wrong. By giving them this feedback on a regular basis, they’ll be able to quickly adjust their behavior accordingly.
You can also set goals as an HR manager related to this: how many praise moments do you want to incorporate into your monthly schedule? Of course, your employees need to live up to this, but setting goals on both sides can help tremendously.
4. Be specific in your criticism
When you do have criticism for your team members, it’s important that you be as specific as possible. This means avoiding general comments like “you need to do better” or “you’re not meeting my expectations.”
Instead, try to point out specific areas where they can improve. For example, “I noticed that you were frequently late for our morning meeting last week. I’d appreciate it if you could be on time from now on.”
By being specific in your criticism, you’ll help your team members understand what they need to do differently and they’ll be more likely to take your suggestions seriously.
5. Focus on the individual and avoid employees comparisons
Comparing employees is one of the quickest ways to foster resentment and undercut morale within a team. So, when appraising individual team members, avoid comparing them directly with their colleagues.
Instead, focus on their individual performance and how it stacks up against the goals that you’ve set for them. If you find yourself making comparisons between employees, take a step back and remind yourself of the goals that each individual needs to achieve.
6. Use Both Positive and (Constructive!) Negative Feedback
It’s important to remember that both positive and negative feedback have their place in performance appraisals.
Although it might be tempting to focus solely on the negative aspects of someone’s performance, this will only serve to discourage them and make them feel like they’re not doing well enough.
On the other hand, if you focus exclusively on the positive aspects of their performance, they might become complacent and think that they don’t need to improve any further. The key is striking a balance between the two so that your team member feels motivated yet still has room for improvement.
You might be a natural at all this, but in case you aren’t: ask your employees regularly if they feel that your appraisal practices are up to par. Can you do more? Can you do it better?
This process should be a two-way street and both parties can ensure that it’s becoming better and more effective, and will feel less forced.
Start giving praise — today
We’re sure there’s at least one coworker that is long overdue for getting some praise. Make it one of your priorities today to make sure they receive some recognition for their hard work and watch what this will do to their morale over time!
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