QUESTION: I have met with all my goals, but my manager is still not fully impressed.
FACT: The manner of achieving the goal also plays
a role in appraisal.
Let us take a very basic example, the goal is to produce a specific size of nuts and bolts. The measurement for the goal is the quantity made per day (say, 50 a day). In this case, everyone who makes 50 nuts and bolts per day with the desired specification is considered a good performer. But this is not the case in office life; the manager might look for the quantity of waste material _produced by each person; how many more than 50 are being produced on a. daily basis; and what help he has provided to other people in achieving that particular goal, and many more.
Over the years, managers have been asked to avoid generic goals, and write only measurable and specific ones. Besides, managers are .also asked to provide the right measurement to evaluate the goal. But appraisals are not objective in nature and the way the results are achieved is also factored in while they are actually being conducted.
This is one of the root causes of disagreements between employees and managers. Only in the case of sales personnel is the appraisal really straightforward. In these appraisals, it is largely the sales target and their ability to meet with it that determines their effectiveness and commission. But in ail other professions, various factors come into appraisal discussion. It is the responsibility of the manager, too, to periodically provide suggestions and guidance to employees to achieve their desired goals. Managers should avoid turning appraisals into fault-finding missions.
The manner in which goals are achieved is Important for the company. Some of the examples could be: the person may have achieved the goal without following the company-approved process. The absence-of a standard or documented effort could make it difficult, if not impossible, for another employee to repeat the procedure and obtain the same result. The person may also not have put due diligence into looking through the various issues that cropped up in his procedure, instead, skipped right to the final conclusion. While the ends may be satisfactory, the means may not have been so.
Most organizations will, of course, look at the way in which results were achieved but they should make clear the criteria for assessing performance. Companies should let the employees know right at the start that this would be a part of their appraisal.
WHAT CAN YOU no As THE EMPLOYEE? Even if you have met with all goals, you should be clear about how you have achieved them, You should be upfront in discussing your process with your manager if you are swerving from company guidelines in order to achieve the result. This will help you reach a common understanding with the manager and secure his cooperation on the path which„ you choose to follow. You should also seek to provide clarity, in your procedure and receive feedback from your superiors and peers during the execution process in order to avoid surprises. Using the best practices from other projects or generating a new best practice during your own execution will be a plus.
WHAT CAN DO YOU AS THE MANAGER? On the one hand, you should enforce the process followed in your organization during a project life cycle; on the other, you need to know that they are just guidelines. As a manager, you should help your team members by providing flexibility within the guidelines and also, at times, making an exception to them In order to achieve results. But the key is for you to make sure that any such exceptions are documented and communicated. if there is not much time during the project life cycle, then you should allot time to document it after the project is over. This will ensure that no learning is lost. But if you feel that, in spite of all the above measures, an employee has not adhered to the agreed guideline and thus caused problems, feedback should be provided to avoid a repeat.