How to increase manager buy-in to performance reviews!

Those of you familiar with my blogs know that I often talk about the problem with performance appraisals from the lazy one-size-fits-all approach of the majority of them to those awful buzzword-driven, unmemorable SMART objectives!

One major drawback to any performance review process and an obstacle to manager buy-in is always going to be the number of process steps or hoops that bosses have to jump through to get the thing done. There are a lot of online appraisal solutions out there that are apparently supposed to make things easier - but do they? I was reviewing one recently that had fourteen clicks or screens just to get to typing in any initial narrative around the performance review. These systems are often packed with too many bells and whistles that are unnecessary and with options that a lot of managers don't even use or need. For me, every click or screen is another barrier to me wanting to engage with performance reviews/appraisal in the first place! I'm having conversations with my people AND then I have to double-count by now updating it all online!

Which brings me to paper processes: these are just as bad. Pages of forms and templates for managers to fill in, exhaustive competency reviews with ratings and 'school-report' style comments required ('brings drive and energy to the role' anyone?)Why do we have to do this. Well, it's for EVIDENCE apparently. Probably in case you go bad and I need something to put before the tribunal!

So - the online answer: Challenge EVERY SINGLE screen and click - if it is not vital then lose it - and challenge the supplier on why it is there. And if 80% or more of managers do not see the value in one particular feature then it's probably not needed (eg social media style shoutouts when a colleague does good work- nice idea, but will anyone actually use it?).

The paper process answer: Get the forms down to next to nothing and focus on conversation rather than paperwork. Otherwise my busy managers brain just sees this whole thing as one big time-consuming task to be ticked off when I eventually get the time. We want managers to run towards 121s/performance reviews because of the major gains both parties can get from it - not run to the hills and avoid it or just copy and paste from the last time it was done!

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