The workplace of today has undergone major changes in the past decade as a result of multiple factors, ranging from the technology being used in the workplace to the workforce itself. Digital transformation and globalization combined have been key forces in perpetuating these changes and continue to influence the space as it evolves. While technology has allowed employees to work more efficiently, it has also enabled the improvement of performance evaluation.
Evaluating the current appraisal system
Performance appraisals form an integral part of workforce management as they allow both employees and managers to evaluate their respective efforts and draw relevant insights to increase efficiency. The feedback shared during these appraisals allow for the development of policies and work patterns that are transferable from an individual to a company-wide perspective. The adequate focus must hence be dedicated to ensuring that these reviews are conducted in a timely and structured manner. The current performance review system, however, contains certain flaws that render it incompatible with the workforce of today.
Adapting to a new generation
Millennials today account for almost 50% of the Indian workforce, a fact that organizations must consider when designing office policies. These changes must also reflect in the way performance appraisals are conducted. Nicknamed the ‘Instant Generation’, millennials require all aspects of their professional and personal lives to function in real-time, a desire that clashes with the system of annual appraisals. Due to the elongated time period, the relevance of the feedback shared is lost and the expectations set by the organization may or may not be met by the employees as a result.
Relevance of the Feedback
The effects of an organization’s inability to keep annual feedback relevant is all the more visible in fast-paced work environments where employees don multiple hats and undertake various responsibilities. Organizations can no longer use a ‘one size fits all’ approach to cater to employee needs. It is important to formulate a feedback process which ensures the required mentoring is provided at the right time.
Another problem related to these timelines is how the average tenure of a millennial with an employer has reduced to 2-3 years. This hardly allows time to integrate the required changes in their functioning when feedback is discussed on an annual basis. Added to this, the lack of coordination between employees and managers regarding the very structure of the performance appraisal process and the parameters of evaluation creates a sense of indifference due to the limited knowledge.
Moving to a system of Continuous Feedback
It is imperative for the current system to be augmented in order to address these flaws and ensure a more conducive professional experience at the workplace. A viable alternative to this is a system of continuous feedback, a phenomenon that integrates digital technology to chart the future of performance appraisals. The first major change in this system is the movement from an annual appraisal pattern to a more fluid one that favours real-time feedback. This allows for much smoother course correction as employees are made aware of their mistakes and are also directed towards avenues of resolving the issues. Likewise, the provision of positive feedback in real-time further aids in motivating employees to continually raises their standards of performance, ultimately leading to greater engagement across the work cycle.
These advantages apply equally across employees as well as their managers due to the feedback loop becoming a more transparent two-way street. Both these qualities thus help foster a much more equitable relationship between employees and their superiors and opens the doors to deeper work discussions. The provision of a digital dashboard that is accessible to both parties only adds to the procedural transparency that this new system provides.
In addition to enabling comprehensive feedback on competencies, this system enables companies to include feedback from multiple stakeholders on an employee’s performance and not just his/her supervisor. This effectively negates any instances of bias and provides a more holistic evaluation of their abilities.
Such information helps temper both managerial and employee expectations as well as acceptance of the feedback. By moving outside of the rigid corporate framework of evaluation, the appraisal system gains the ability to use more conversational language that appeals to other individuals, ensuring greater retention and motivation for development.
As the industry evolves, it is important that organizations look to not only focus on business and organizational growth but also on making their employees feel more valued and motivated. Acquisition and retention have never been more important, and having a structured, dynamic performance appraisal system ensures that companies stay ahead of the development curve in the industry. The continuous feedback model provides many advantages to organizations today and its adoption will ensure that the future of the workforce will continue along the path of positive evolution.
By Chaitanya Peddi, Co-Founder, Darwinbox