How to maximise profit through your people!

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Your staff are your biggest asset and key to the success of your business, but do you give them the TLC they need to lead, inspire and support your team to be the best they can be?

In my experience, the annual appraisal is widely used in many SME’s as a way of managing performance, but all too often it is viewed as an administrative burden, meaningless exercise, opportunity for managers to give subjective feedback and time consuming, by both managers and their appraises  and to be perfectly honest, I tend to agree. Using and relying solely on the annual appraisal to effectively manage performance is a huge mistake in my opinion.

Effective performance management should revolve around continuous on-going conversations and feedback, not just a box ticking exercise once a year. It’s about recognising and appreciating each member of your team, the value of their role and ultimately, how they contribute to organisational performance and success. Feedback should be given in the moment, not saved until that one important date in the diary. If somebody has done a great job, tell them. If you provide regular feedback you are reinforcing positive behaviour/performance and it is more likely that your employee will repeat their performance, in the same way that if they aren’t meeting standards, unless you feed this back to them it is unlikely that their performance will improve …now, seems crazy to wait until that one annual appraisal doesn’t it! Consistently supporting employees to be the best that they can be at work is key to effective performance management.

Managers play a significant part in leading, developing and supporting employees to realise their true potential in line with company objectives and strengthen employee engagement and job satisfaction. It is important that the performance management framework is implemented and delivered in line with your company’s culture, purpose, vision and values.  There are a number of skills that managers will need to enhance the effectiveness of performance management and training is highly advised, after all, it’s not easy to build a team of dedicated, high performing individuals and ensure all employees are engaged and contributing positively to the business objectives.

So is there still a place for the annual appraisal? The answer is yes. Performance appraisals are one of many tools that aim to ensure employees performance contributes positively to business objectives. An appraisal is the process of an employee (appraisee) and their line manager (appraiser) reviewing and discussing their individual performance and development, alongside relevant support and resources they may need to enable them to fulfil their role and meet future objectives.

The appraisal should take a holistic approach, considering past performance, development opportunities, set future objectives and establish and address performance requirements.

Used as part of a wider performance management framework, appraisals can add significant value to any business by improving employee engagement, job satisfaction, retention of key talent which can significantly enhance company performance and profitability.

In order to be effective and add value, it is important that appraisals are linked to company, departmental and individual objectives as well as the employees job description. It is important that managers have the right skills to carry out an effective, meaningful appraisal in order to add value to the employee, their department and the business. Managers need to be able to successfully navigate performance meetings ensuring they ask the right questions, listen actively to the employee’s opinions and suggestions and provide appropriate feedback. Most of all, managers should be passionate and positive about building a successful team.

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