I couldn’t have said it better than the way Mark Murphy, founder of Leadership IQ puts it:
"Employees want feedback that is meaningful and relevant to them, but oftentimes it sounds like we're reading from one of those phrase books using stock comments like, "Mary is a team player and consistently thinks of others."
That statement could apply to Mary, or it could apply to apply to Bob, or Jane. It's one of those phrases that is so nebulous and vague that employees think, "Did you actually pay attention to anything I did this year? Do you even know my name?"
One simple technique to fix this is called a "Proudest Moments List." It's basically asking employees to make a list of their proudest moments for the year. Don't ask them for their biggest failures. Ask them, "What are the moments you were most proud of this past year?"
It does two really important things for you. Number one, it avoids really bad omissions. If you go into a performance appraisal conversation with an employee and you neglect to talk about a moment they were most proud of in the past year, the employee is going to be angry. They are likely to look at you and say, "Did you pay any attention to what I did this year?" Get all of those moments on their Proudest Moments List and know what they are BEFORE you go into the meeting.
If there are 7 things about their performance in the past year that the employee is really proud of, you want to make sure you talk about those 7 things. You want to know what those things are. Make sure you have them jot those down for you. It's going to make them feel great and you're going to feel great as a result.
In addition to feeling great, it lets you know what sort of a meeting you're in for. When asked to write down their proudest moments, most people write down legitimate achievements. However, on occasion, someone will say something like, "I showed up for work on time 60% of the time. I'm pretty proud of that." Meanwhile, you're thinking to yourself, "This is what you're most proud of...are you serious?" If an employee's standards are really low, this question will prepare you for that before you sit down to have a conversation with them.
In choosing a good online Performance Appraisal System, make sure it offers a way for both you and your employees to memorialize the highlights of their performance as well as the “lowlights” that have occurred during the year. It makes for a more objective and fair final performance rating of the employee, because you have an ongoing record of exactly what occurred during the year. If you are interested to learn more about this system, please contact us. We can provide you with a free trial of the system