The time has come to think about performance appraisal as more than just a dreaded, required, annual exercise. No one would argue that performance appraisal needs to include “accountability, fairness, and alignment with the function and strategy of the agency” (U.S. Office of Personnel Management). But what is missing from this purpose statement is how these elements—and others—can contribute to better employee engagement.
Blanchard research into the factors that create a passionate work environment include performance expectations, feedback, and fairness as recommended leadership focus areas. What would happen if leaders were trained to consider and use performance appraisal as a tool to “peel the onion back” to determine how engagement levels relate to performance outcomes?
For example, the performance appraisal process might include conversations in these four areas:
- Barriers to high performance. Discuss the environmental factors that may be inhibiting maximum performance. This gets team members thinking about work processes that might be underdeveloped or inefficient.
- Opportunities for improvement and change. This element is useful for seeking continuous improvement input. It also could identify growth and autonomy opportunities for direct reports.
- Support for both meeting and exceeding expectations. In addition to measuring past performance against agreed-to expectations, be sure to include discussion on ways to improve performance outcomes going forward.
- Commitment and passion. Have an open conversation about the importance of maximum engagement and the things that may be either limiting or supporting it. This is the perfect opportunity to check for work commitment and the factors that can lead to improved engagement.
Incorporating a broader view and talking about engagement can help agencies improve the performance management process. With guidance and training, leaders can identify and remove barriers, seek ideas for continuous improvement, and establish ways to maximize work passion.
To learn more about the Blanchard approach to engagement, visit the company’s online research archive. All white papers are available for free immediate download.