It’s January, so not only are we suffering from chilly toes here at RightSite, but we are struggling through our semi-annual performance appraisals for staff.
Actually, I shouldn’t complain. Although administering the performance appraisal process is a pain for managers, and many employees dread receiving their appraisal, this process is one of the most valuable tools we have for improving our company. If your company isn’t doing regular performance appraisals or isn’t doing them well, then find a new place to work, because your organisation is DOOMED!
Speaking of doing them well, however, doing an appraisal properly is an art. We don’t claim to have it all figured out at RightSite, but we do aim to get better at each time and I’ve already managed to improve on the process dramatically in the last couple of years (if you include the practices and process that I used at my last company).
At RightSite, the performance appraisal consists of two parts – the review of activity over the last six months and the setting of goals for the next six months. Of these two, the goals are by far the most important. This objectives will help determine what we accomplish and will set the basis for the review portion of the next performance appraisal.
In setting the goals, we first set goals for the whole company, and then work at setting individual goals. Then from these goals we develop projects to help us accomplish them, and from these projects people can derive their daily tasks. If we can use some fancy bullet points, it would look like this:
Goals and Implementation
Company goals â€“ List of goals. Individual goal statements
Individual Goal â€“ goal statement
Project â€“ project list
- Task â€“ task/to do list
To give you an idea of the actual goals that we are working with here is a draft version of RightSite’s goals for the next six months. As we are still developing the company, there are very few sales goals in this set, but lots of marketing and content development goals. Once we have established a popular (and populated) site, you could expect to see a much greater emphasis on sales.
For the actual performance review, here’s a copy of the form that we use. This is certainly not perfect, but it meets most of our needs now and we will continue to improve it as the company develops. For the performance appraisal, 50% of the employee’s appraisal is based on the scores given on the review form and 50% is derived from their score against the goals agreed upon for the most recent six months. The goal completion part of the appraisal is scored like this:
- Each person has 20 goals
- Each goal has a weight between 1 and 5
- The total of the goal weights for all 20 goals is 50
- The weight of each goal will determine how much impact it has on the employee’s performance appraisal at the end of the review period
- Goals which are more important to the company, or more difficult to achieve are given higher weights
- Goals which are of lesser importance or easier to achieve are given lower weights
- At the end of the period, the team member will be given a score for how much of the goal they completed
- The score for how much of the goal was completed is multiplied by the weight to give a performance score
- The goal accomplishment part of the performance appraisal is derived from the sum of the team member’s performance score for all goals
Twenty goals is a large number, but keep in mind that these goals are very specific. A good goal is one that is clear and quantifiable. You can test whether your goal is good by measuring the capacity for disagreement or variation in interpretation of results. If there is no way that a reviewer and reviewee can disagree on whether or not a goal has been accomplished at the end of a review period, then that is a good goal. Oh, and it helps if the goal is actually in the realm of possibility as well.
Now I would like to write more, but there is a lot of performance appraisal work to get done. As I mentioned earlier all of these documents are works in progress, so I welcome your comments, feedback and contributions.