Project team members appraisal: steps

I’ll go weird on this one. There is only one step for a meaningful appraisal. Preparation. With a capital letter.

Appraisal is not a surprise, pop-up event or pop-in occurrence, to pencil in a calendar.

It is a continuous process. We are judgemental creatures, to an extent or another. It can be a strength for an appraiser. Can be a weakness. To turn it into a strength, be transparent about it. For example, if you take notes through the year about team members performance, let them know in advance. Or give the feedback on spot.

More or less aware of the continuous nature of the appraisal, the date X arrived and by your corporate culture, you are required to sit down (hopefully).

So better come prepared. On both sides.

Write down the points you’d like to review. Send them to the appraise, in advance, to prepare. I like to use a simple two column table, which I send to team members 2 weeks in advance. See for instance:

Evaluation: take stock Objectives setting: look into the future
What were your most important responsibilities? the way you see them (re-read to refresh memory, but pls paraphrase) What are your most important responsibilities, to come, if you are aware? in your own words
Has there been any change or progress in your main responsibilities during the appraisal year? What new tasks/responsibilities would you like to be given?
Which work-related or other events have had an effect on these changes? contextualize Which objectives can you/would you like to put forward for the coming year?
Have these changes affected your performance? If yes, what recovery/remedies did you apply, if there was such a need Do you have the resources (material or other/your own and team’s) you need to achieve these objectives? What competences you’d like to bring more into work? What competences you’d like to upgrade?
Do you meet any particular difficulties in your work, which remained unvoiced? In any areas of your work. In your opinion, what changes to the resources currently available could make your work easier or improve your performance?

Which of the objectives set for you have you

fulfilled? (note specific facts in support of these results)

partly fulfilled? (try to assess the discrepancies and to explain why they occurred)

not fulfilled? (give the reasons for these situations, if possible)

Be aware of motives vs excuses.

Would you need additional trainings? do you foresee/anticipate any additional learning needs?
What skills and competences did you apply to achieve objectives? Do you think that you could increase your efficiency? How & is there anything I could do?
Which work-related skills have you been able to improve? Which skills would you have wanted to improve? What results indicators you would set for your work in 2017? Any intermediate milestones?
What are your strengths as far as competencies are concerned? Where do you feel you could do more?
Have you taken any work-related training courses? How do you assess their impact on your work/team work?
I would like also to discuss the way we work together:

•     What are 2-3 aspects of our joint work you enjoy?

•     What are 2-3 aspects of our joint work you’d like to change/improve?

Choose the place. Starbucks could be trendy, but it’s not a place for a frank and confidential talk. A quiet office/meeting room will be just fine. Send the meeting request.

Do a biases-self-check. It is not always possible to get rid of them. But at least being/becoming aware  is a good start. Biases come in many shapes and forms: recency bias (remember the most recent events); the right way/one way only is my way; halo effect, cultural biases. See how to outsmart your biases here, for example https://hbr.org/2015/05/outsmart-your-own-biases?utm_campaign=HBR&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

Set the tone and a positive atmosphere. It is not a Sf. Valentine date. And days of public penitence are gone. It needs to be positive, free of unnecessary emotions. It’s no place for “I have the impression”.

Set rules of procedure at the beginning. “Agree to disagree does not mean your suggestion will be taken automatically” keeps expectations in check.

Let the appraisee talk. Practice active listening. No open-ended questions. Stay concrete. Apply assertiveness.

Check if achieved I’m OK – You’re OK (Dr. Thomas Harris I’m OK – You’re OK ). End with an invitation to change what you agreed on.

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