There is no doubt that in spite of careful training and guidance some managers will be better at conducting performance review meetings than others. So how can their performance as performance reviewers be evaluated as a basis for further training or guidance when necessary?
There are different approaches to evaluating performance reviews −
The traditional approach
Traditionally, the personnel department had a policing role – checking that performance appraisal forms are completed on time and filled in properly. However, this will convey nothing about the quality of the meeting or the feelings of individuals after it – they may have signed the form to agree with its comments but this does not reveal what they really thought about the process.
Another approach is to get the manager’s manager (the so-called ‘grandparent’) to review the form. This at least provides the individual who has been reported on with the comfort of knowing that a prejudiced report may be rejected or amended by a higher authority. But it still does not solve the problem of a negative or biased review process, which would probably not be conveyed in a written report.
Space on the review form can be given to individuals to comment on the review, but many will feel unwilling to do so. If the interview has been conducted in an intimidating manner, how ready are they likely to be to commit themselves to open criticism?
Another productive approach
This approach is to conduct an attitude survey following performance reviews asking individuals in confidence to answer questions about their review meeting such as −
● How well did your manager conduct your performance review meeting?
● Are there any specific aspects of the way in which the review was conducted that could be improved?
● How did you feel at the end of it?
● How are you feeling at the moment about your job and the challenges ahead of you?
● How much help are you getting from your manager in developing your skills and abilities?
The results of such a survey, a form of upward assessment, can be fed back anonymously to individual managers and, possibly, their superiors, and action can be taken to provide further guidance, coaching or formal training. A general analysis of the outcome can be used to identify any common failings, which can be dealt with by more formal training workshops.