Twenty-six percent of participants in a recent survey provide training for performance evaluators on an annual basis, and approximately 10 percent do so more frequently. How can this form of training increase the effectiveness of your company’s performance management program?
BLR’s 2016 Talent and Performance Management Survey also found that nearly 24 percent of respondents offer performance evaluation training exclusively for new supervisors and managers, and about 25 percent “never” conduct training for performance evaluators.
Training provides an opportunity to familiarize supervisors and managers with your organization’s performance evaluation process and to promote best practices. At the same time, training can help educate supervisors about unintentional and procedural errors in the evaluation process and offer guidance on how to avoid those errors.
BLR® reports that the most common unintentional rater errors are focusing on the most recent performance, putting all employees in the middle of the scale to avoid hurt feelings or overrating, and overrating performance to avoid making enemies. The three worst procedural errors are (1) not following up with an employee to check on progress after an evaluation, (2) not including details to explain ratings, and (3) not completing evaluations in a timely fashion.
Training can be particularly important in companies that have revamped their performance evaluation process, such as some high-profile companies that have opted in recent years to drop performance ratings altogether. Without ratings, managers have a hard time giving feedback about performance and suggestions to improve it, according to research reported by CEB (cebglobal.com), a best-practice insight and technology company.
“When performance ratings are removed, two things happen for managers—they spend less time on performance management, and they have difficulty providing concrete evidence of how the employee is performing and progressing,” explained Brian Kropp, Human Resources practice leader, CEB. Meanwhile, “[w]ithout the tangible symbol of a rating, employees don’t understand the processes or the philosophies behind their organization’s performance management, which causes them to put forth less effort at work and become disengaged,” he said.
Whether or not your company uses performance ratings, it is important to provide training on performance management. Here are two tips from CEB that you should consider incorporating into training for supervisors and managers. First, have more informal performance conversations: “In addition to offering more timely feedback to employees, managers who have ongoing, not episodic, performance discussions are better able to adjust expectations about what’s required from employees.”
Second, have forward-looking discussions about performance rather than focusing on past performance. CEB advises that “[a]ssessing and discussing future performance requirements helps employees understand their ability to meet future business needs and how to improve in order to meet them.”