Have you ever had a performance review that was just awful? Well, you are not alone! Whether you are a leader forced to deliver them or an employee who is forced to endure one, most Performance Appraisal systems suck balls.

And believe me, after being in the HR game for over 20 years I have seen it all and you know what, I have tried it all too, yet most processes continue to miss the mark and instead instill feelings of dread amongst the people they are meant to be serving.

So why do we still keep doing this?

Have we not learned from our mistakes? Surely, most leaders and business owners realise that doing a bog stock, check-the-box performance review is a complete waste of everyone’s time. But no… we press on.

I see LinkedIn post after LinkedIn post about the importance of preparing for your annual review process. Be prepared, get the data, make sure you listen, blah blah, kill me now.

So, after years of trial and error (I’m not gonna lie, lots and lots of error), I think I have finally cracked the code on how to do this the right way.

But first, let’s get back to the real reason every business wants to do a performance review in the first place.

The real purpose of the review

On a basic level, every business wants to motivate its employees to do great work and be accountable. Yunno do their jobs, hit all their KPI’s and generally just kick ass. I get it, a business needs to make a return on its investment and given wage costs are probably HUGE this is why most review systems end up being DEATH BY KPI.

And this is where most employees’ eyes glaze over. And most leaders too!

But the real purpose in my experience is really about motivation, alignment and connection.

This is really the money shot where it all comes together to have an impact.

You see, we are not dealing with robots who are programmed to want to make the numbers or achieve 50 KPI’s we are dealing with human beings who are complex creatures with different values, beliefs and motivations.

Your review process will only zing once you realise that the review is not so much about measuring and managing employee output. But motivating and holding space for your employees to connect to the bigger picture of your organisation and then get aligned with where you are going. Oh yeah that sounds cool doesn’t it!

Holding space

You see, after years of creating processes with KPI’s and a little bit of development and maybe a shitty career discussion, I realised that my own team were not really motivated or hitting their targets in my own business. And I’m not going to lie, our countless client review processes were dismally failing also.

I tried 1-pagers, I tried online systems, I tried lots of KPI’s, no KPI’s, rating systems, no ratings I LEGIT tried it every which way but Sunday, but you know what? One day, it finally hit me in the face! The primary purpose of the review was to create a wonderful space for an employee and their leader to have a constructive conversation about:

  • How everyone fits into the bigger picture and why their work is important
  • Clear expectations of what everyone needs to focus on to achieve success;
  • Actionable feedback around what areas people are nailing and all the areas they need to work on to get better!
  • A way for everyone to create a development plan to grow and learn

And that is it. And then, I created a way for businesses to do this for themselves. And I started with my own business, and I tell you what my people LOVED it. And more importantly, I loved doing it with them. The conversation was full of laughter, meaning and ultimately, it was impactful. My people walked away knowing what they did really well and where they needed to focus. But not in a YOU ARE BELOW EXPECTATIONS kind of way. NO ONE wants to hear “hey, you are really shit at communication, like below our standard.” Not only is it horrible to hear, but leaders also don’t want to deliver the feedback in this format. Because it totally sucks and is also not constructive to growth.

So after much work and a few tears, I am so proud to introduce you to the HR Gurus Individual Development Planning Process, otherwise known as the (IDP). The IDP aims to bring your team together and provide a platform for growth. As at HR Gurus, we truly believe that if you grow your people, you grow your business.

The HR Gurus IDP process is employee-driven and focused on providing consistent, constructive and motivating feedback for people, including giving everyone context by outlining:

  • What your business goals are
  • What your employee role key result areas are
  • How your employees perform against desired leadership and role competencies
  • Assessment on how employees actively live your values

You see, the process should not just be about what people do (results) it’s about how they do it (behaviour and competencies). In fact, the latter is actually what’s most important to business success. As your clients are buying your unique brand and culture, so if everyone is aligned and motivated, then this is where the magic happens.

Finally, at HR Gurus we totally understand that everyone is different and therefore, the IDP process is geared to look at the “whole person” not just the numbers. Don’t get us wrong we are totally committed to creating a high-performance culture for all of our clients and we get that all team members need to be accountable. But our process is really about giving leaders and employees all the knowledge and awareness possible so everyone can achieve not only in their roles but in life in general. It’s a win-win.

So, if your Performance Review process sucks, then reach out to learn how we could help you revolutionise annual performance appraisals in your business to get results, and not want to stab yourself in the eye come review time!

Written by Emily Jaksch

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