Performance Appraisals….the collaborative approach

A post regarding employee performance appraisals is a must for a blog regarding HR practices. But what do I say about the subject that hasn’t been covered in a zillion textbooks and articles? What would still be helpful for readers?

I typically start-off a draft post by choosing a picture to head it up.  I’m surfing publicly available images and I come across the one above.  Got me to thinking about the application of these three words to the most difficult aspect of the employee performance appraisal process when dealing with performance issues:

  • a choice is presented to the employee by stating, “Work with me to fix this or we cannot continue to work together.”
  • a chance to fix the problem by changing the behavior that is an issue
  • a change made by the employee or their manager or both to fix the problem.

One common mistake that I have seen in the performance appraisal process is that the manager sees it as a one-way process…their way or the highway. They do not see it (or choose not to see it) as a collaborative process, which includes both them and the employee, working towards a common goal.

This approach to problem resolution is used in the practice of  Collaborative Law. Collaborative Law is a new way to resolve disputes by removing the disputed matter from the courtroom setting and treating this as a problem-solving process aimed at a “win-win” result. In the case of performance appraisals, a “win-win” would be an improved relationship between the employee and the manager coupled with improved performance by the employee.

The collaborative approach can be implemented using a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). This involves working together with the employee to

(1) identify the problem,

(2) develop an action plan, and

(3) follow-up on the progress of the action plan.

(Note: Use of PIPs is addressed in an earlier post in relation to the disciplinary action process).

The key to a successful performance appraisal process is buy-in by the employee, which is best achieved by involving them in the development of a plan of action to resolve the problem (i.e. a collaborative approach). Of course, if they do not recognize that there is a problem to be corrected, or they are not capable of correcting the problem (i.e. they do not have the physical or mental capacity needed) this cannot work, and either job change or end of the employment relationship is called for.

Published by Dave the HR Compliance Guy

Human Resource and legal professional specializing in HR compliance advisory services

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