In this tough economic environment it becomes vital for HR Managers to set clear goals and expectations for their employees; and provide them with appropriate feedback. Hence, there is a need for employee involvement and a creative appraisal system to be introduced by the HR department.
This year the global economic meltdown that affected almost every industry, forced HR managers to be creative and make some major amendments in their policies. Even the performance appraisal systems were restructured and rewritten.
In today’s stressful economy, HR managers have a major responsibility in handling the annual appraisal system. When everyone’s worried about what the future holds, it’s very difficult to discuss employee expectations for the upcoming year. It’s a challenge for many HR Managers to devise a methodology to be adopted during these tough times and to keep employees motivated and engaged for the forthcoming year. With several companies resorting to measures like retrenchment, pay cuts, etc., many employees feel that appraisals, this year, may not hold any significance.
Therefore, one significant question that needs to be addressed by HR Managers is how to conduct and execute robust appraisal system during these turbulent times and more importantly, how can employees derive learnings out of it and add value to the process, irrespective of what the future of the turbulent economy holds?
Some of the ways in which we as HR managers can tackle such situations are mentioned below:
a) Devising an Effective communication strategy among employees:
Performance appraisal is important at all times, but becomes even more important during tough times. With the growing level of uncertainty and anxiety, the need for effective communication with employees becomes vital as does ongoing feedback. Communication minimizes rumors, which if not managed properly, can lead to grave consequences. The HR need to share with employees of his/her strengths and also jot down employee contribution. Non-performers need to be told exactly where they are lacking and should be given timelines to improve on their performance.
b) Career Planning for the Employee:
Many employees feel that the economic situation should not be a deterrent to the performance management system of any organization. A performance appraisal is a critical aspect of any employee’s career growth. As an HR Manager you should take it very seriously and it’s an effective tool for career planning. An appraisal process should provide a clear understanding of the employee’s and the company’s expectations from the Human Resource department, tasks that the HR is doing well and areas where it needs some improvement and a clear path for growth in the current assignments and beyond.
c) Sharing of true financials of the company with the employees:
Though the situation is not good, employees still expect the same methodology of appraisals to be adopted even if the rewards and upgrades may be few and far between. The employees expect the organization to be as honest as possible and let them know of its true financial health and how much it has been affected by the global meltdown.
d) Making Performance Management System valuable for both:
What is it that can make an appraisal valuable for the employee and the employer? Contrary to popular belief, an employee’s contribution can go a long way in making an appraisal valuable at all times. The HR Manager must ensure that his/her employees and their managers are in alignment to the goals and expectations. The measurement criteria and key milestones should be clear, well understood and agreed to, by both the parties. Moreover, the HR Manager must share feedback regarding the employee to make him understand his/her skill sets better and to further develop his/her capabilities. The employee should also be open to learning additional skills to add more value to the organization. An employee should be open to feedback and ask for help, in case needed, to improve the gaps in performance. This will help & add value to the process.
e) Developing an environment of faith and trust:
It is very essential for employees to have faith in their respective managers. Since employees lead the shop floor, their inputs on improvements in processes, suggestions on better cost management, increasing productivity and understanding their frustrations and personal challenges can all help the HR Manager to keep their morale high and increase profitability.
The employee by being honest about their aspirations and asking questions about what more they need to do at this critical juncture, can contribute to the appraisal process and make it more valuable. There is a lot pressure on the Human Resource department & organizations to conduct effective appraisals that keep employees motivated when times are tough. But, with a little effort from the employee’s side, the whole process can be made more valuable and great results could be expected. Proper communication must be ensured by the HR Managers so that employees are aware of the situation and they have faith in the management.