How can a manager positively influence their staff to ensure that they are kept effective, motivated and ‘happy’?
There are several ways to this and today I want to focus on one of the most powerful but sometimes overlooked techniques – the appraisal.
We’ll divide this topic into two parts. This article will examine the benefits of the appraisal and the elements involved. Next month we’ll study the actual appraisal process and how to conduct one.
An appraisal, or performance appraisal or performance review, is the process whereby employees and managers get together to discuss past and present performance and identify ways to improve performance in the future. This involves the following elements
- evaluating and rating performance against agreed objectives and competencies/skills
- recognising achievements
- discussing how things can be improved for the future
- agreeing and setting measurable objectives for the coming period, in line with the needs of the individual, office and organisation (as appropriate)
- agreeing a plan that will provide each person with the knowledge, skills and competencies to help them achieve their objectives and overcome any barriers to progress
The emphasis is on setting standards for future performance and development, using past achievements as a guide to the level of performance that can be expected in the future
The benefits of appraisals
There are clear benefits for the business, the individual and the manager of having a formalised review process.
From the point of view of the organisation as a whole, the benefits are as follows
- individual objectives and targets will always be aligned to business goals
- the organisation’s objectives and targets are more likely to be achieved because the organisation will be able to measure individual performance
- employees’ strengths and weaknesses are identified clearly
- the highest calibre people have a better chance of being retained as their performance and development are recognised and given a high priority
- people with high promotion potential can be more easily identified and groomed for new roles within the organisation
- general problems that cause inefficiency in performance may be identified and dealt with
- the process will be seen as applying to all employees, thus reducing the scope for favouritism and inefficient management practices
The individual team member should also benefit from appraisals, eg
- motivation is improved as effort and performance are recognised and rewarded
- improved performance should in due course attract higher pay if the appraisal score is also linked to reward
- personal accountability for the achievement of business goals is encouraged and so commitment and ‘ownership’ should increase
- recognition is given for things that have gone well and help can be received quickly when areas of weakness are identified
- current priorities are always clear as performance is reviewed on a regular basisl
Elements of appraisals
There are different elements to appraisals such as when to appraise, who appraises and how to appraise. Consider these points next.
When to appraise – Typically, a formal review of performance should take place every year, but you should be assessing your people’s performance all the time, being aware of their objectives and targets and taking appropriate actions to ensure they are on track, which may just involve encouragement or advice. As a halfway house, you may want to consider more formal six-monthly or even quarterly or monthly reviews.
Who appraises? It seems fairly clear that it’s the manager who does the appraising, but others can contribute as well.
Self-appraisal – By way of understanding how the employee sees their own performance, it’s often useful to incorporate a self-appraisal into the overall review process. This can highlight differences in perception by employee and manager – ‘I thought I was doing all right’ is a typical refrain in this connection.
Some reviews provide an opportunity for upward appraisal, where team members are asked to provide feedback on the performance of their managers as part of the process. This form of feedback clearly needs to be used with care. Team members may feel uncomfortable with criticising the performance of the person who will, in due course, conduct their own review. If it is thought suitable, it should be focused on the manager’s role in helping the appraisee achieve their objectives, eg by providing appropriate resources, including training.
Can there be any doubt that the success of a property agency relies on its staff?
How effective, motivated and ‘happy’ they are will be critical factors. The office manager has an overwhelming influence over this and there are many techniques available to achieve this. The appraisal is just one of many.
This subject is just one of many management subjects explored in the National Federation of Property Professionals Awarding Body level 4 certificate qualification (from where the above material was taken). Other areas include time management, stress management and the recruitment process.
If you would like further information about this qualification, call MOL on 0345 203 2103 or visit our website at www.mollearn.com/property