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There are other less tangible, but equally important, benefits of an ongoing appraisal process. Managers increasingly must serve as coaches to influence desired behavior. Effective performance reviews and appraisals help strengthen the communication between a manager and an employee and foster a relationship of trust and respect to be nurtured over time. As one employee put it: “When management shows through actions rather than words that you’re a valuable employee, that your input is valued no matter what level you work at, it’s very motivating.” Appraisals no longer need to be viewed as a necessary evil but rather as a tool that can be used to enhance your career.
EXECUTION: GETTING THE JOB DONE
Rewards and recognition also play an important role in motivating employees. While money is important to employees, what tends to motivate them to perform—and to perform at higher levels—is the thoughtful, personal kind of recognition that signifies appreciation for a job well done. In a recent study of more than 1,500 employees in various work settings, Dr. Gerald H. Graham, professor of management at Wichita State University, found the most powerful motivator was personalized, immediate recognition from their managers. “Managers have found that simply asking for employee involvement is motivational in itself,” says Graham. The top five motivating techniques determined by Graham’s study were (quoted from “The Motivational Impact of Nonfinancial Employee Appreciation Practices on Medical Technologists,” Health Care Supervisor, by Gerald H. Graham and Jeanne Unruh, 1990, pp. 9-17):
1. The manager personally congratulates employees who do a good job.
2. The manager writes personal notes about good performance.
3. The organization uses performance as the basis for promotion.
4. The manager publicly recognizes employees for good performance.
5. The manager holds morale-building meetings to celebrate successes.
A recent survey conducted by the Minnesota Department Resources (quoted from Recognition Redefined: Building Self-Esteem at Work, by Roger L. Hale and Rita F. Maehling, Minneapolis, MN: The Tennant Company, 1992) supports Graham’s findings in discovering that recognition activities contributed significantly to employees’ job satisfaction. Most respondents said they highly value day-to-day recognition from their supervisors, peers, and team members. The survey also found:
• 68 percent of the respondents said it is important to believe that their work is appreciated by others.
• 63 percent agreed that most people would like more recognition for their work.
• 67 percent agreed that most people need appreciation for their work.
The Management Bible
Ask Bob and Peter: What's the most proven way of doing job evaluations and compensating employees according to the results of the evaluations?
Job evaluations are a very sensitive part of the personnel system for any company. If there is anything that will get an employee upset, it is thinking that he or she is being unfairly paid relative to other employees. There is a definite trend in many organizations toward a market-based system; that is, salaries are aligned with the comparative worth of the job in the marketplace. Within those parameters, employees need to be held to the specific performance objectives they agreed to meet since their last performance appraisal or since they accepted the position.
FEEDBACK, FEEDBACK, AND MORE FEEDBACK
Many companies have abandoned traditional appraisals in favor of a system that frequently answers one of the most urgently asked questions by employees: “How am I doing?” In an article by Gina Imperato titled “How To Give Good Feedback” in Fast Company magazine (Issue 17, September 1998, p. 144), Glenroy Inc., a privately held manufacturer of packaging materials outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, held a rally at which employees built a bonfire and burned the company’s manuals with their well-established approach to performance reviews. Says Michael Dean, Glenroy’s executive vice-president, “Leaders here provide people with feedback. But the way for it to be effective is on a day-by-day, minute-by-minute basis—not once or twice a year.” Some management experts go so far as to say that 90 percent of a manager’s job today occurs in the day-to-day coaching of employees (as discussed in Chapter 5).
Enlightened companies recognize that it is the daily interactions between managers and employees that provide the greatest opportunity for
EXECUTION: GETTING THE JOB DONE
valuable feedback. Employees don’t want surprises—and an effective appraisal process avoids surprising employees. Too often, managers fail to seize the moment and provide timely feedback. Instead, they “save” it for the annual review discussion, and the golden opportunity to positively influence an employee’s behavior when it occurs is missed.
OTHER NEEDS IN CHANGING TIMES
There are other reasons your organization should consider an emphasis on daily communication over traditional yearly performance reviews, including the prevalence of teams, alternate work arrangements, and the impact of technology.