Performance appraisals can get as unnerving for managers as they are for employees. Breaking the news to someone about their ‘not so good’ performance during the year is difficult, especially when the employee has been working so hard.
You might often find yourself in a situation where it gets uncomfortable to communicate and pinpoint their mistakes, so as not to let them feel dejected and demoralised.
But you cannot afford the possibility of not letting them in, on where they are lacking. This will only have a snowball effect on the entire team and everyone will begin to feel if others can get away with it, they can too.
Here are a few tips to help you as a manager to handle difficult conversations in a way where employees leave the room feeling motivated!
How To Handle Difficult Performance Appraisals
Here are ways to get through difficult appraisals without leaving your employees feeling dejected and uninspired!
1. Do Your Homework:
Entering the meeting unarmed is always a bad idea when giving uneasy feedback during performance appraisals. Think carefully on the agenda of the appraisal and the areas you want to highlight.
Get to know your employee beforehand by following a continuous feedback approach, so you have an idea of what their needs are. This will help you convey your thoughts with minimum damage.
2. Analyse, Don’t Assume:
Talk to other employees who work closely with the individual in question. Understand if their experience of the employee’s work and attitude is the same as yours – or is something personal getting in the way of your view? It is best not to assume something based on your thoughts alone.
Make sure you avoid unconscious biases from clouding your judgement. Also, make sure you don’t allow one unfavourable aspect of someone’s performance to negate everything else done well.
3. Be Specific:
The last thing you want out of your one on one chat with the employee is to not reach a satisfactory consensus. Avoid beating around the bush and come straight to the point. Make your comments specific to examples where the employee’s behaviour was not acceptable or where exactly they went wrong.
That will help them remember exactly which incidents you are referring to and reach a common ground by discussing it out with you. Additionally, this will also give them a clear idea of what they need to work on.
4. Show Understanding:
Once you have laid out the problem areas on the table in front of them, give the employees a moment to recover and a chance to open up to you about their viewpoint. He/She might be facing some issues which have led to a poor performance.
They may not be getting support from their colleagues or lack the necessary skills. He/she might also have personal issues which were not previously disclosed. While there should be no excuses for poor performance, dig deep and understand what exactly are the issues and try reaching a solution.
This doesn’t just make the employee more trusting of your appraisal, but also makes him/her more willing to make the necessary changes.
5. Be Patient:
It is best to choose a friendly approach so that you have a healthy discussion rather than make it seem like a serious meeting. Be a friend to your employees, understand them and show empathy. To have a meaningful conversation, you need to really listen to them and be open to suggestions. Listening to their side of the story patiently will help you take a fair and balanced decision. The employee will also be able to trust you well and discuss his issues more openly.
6. Manage Your Emotions:
Some employees might not take criticism constructively and have a sudden emotional outburst of anger. He might react badly and get upset especially if he was not expecting for a poor appraisal.
Make sure you keep calm and keep your emotions in check. Let them take a moment to process the news by being empathetic and supportive. Try and lighten their mood by focusing on the brighter side. Maintain a clear perspective by focusing on the solutions for the problems addressed and avoid getting into a negative space.
7. Set Goals:
All the efforts go for a toss if you do not set targets to improve on this.
Be very clear about exactly what you want to change and by when - set a date for a follow-up to review progress. Offer coaching, support and whatever help the employees need to help them improve.
Employees should feel as much a part of the course of action to be followed from now on so that their involvement is a hundred percent.
Do not be a rigid manager in sticking to what you feel is the right way to do things. Instead be flexible and look out for the employees’ happiness and what seems fair for the organisation.
And remember to reward improvements… no matter how small they are!
Contact Engrave Awards And More for plaques, awards, trophies and other keepsakes to keep your employees motivated to keep improving!
8. End on A Positive Note:
No matter how the entire talk went about, always end the appraisal meeting on a positive note. Highlight the positive aspects towards the end, so that you and the employee can leave the room feeling light and healthy.
9.Record Your Conversations:
Make sure you record whatever has been discussed or agreed. This helps keep the entire process transparent and accessible if either you or the individual want to check back at any time.
Keeping proper records is important so that if at any point of time the situation escalates and you find yourself in a disciplinary situation, you have evidence of the fact that the issues have been raised previously and individuals have been treated fairly.
Appraisal meetings are never going to be easy, but with the aid of the above points, you can surely find your way around difficult conversations and emerge successful.
Find ways to keep your employees motivated with the help of Engrave Awards! Get in touch with us today!