Delivering Appraisals through GRACE
One of the key challenges organizations will face in the coming months is around managing annual performance appraisals for employees.
Some organizations have Q3/Q4 as the timeline for this process, so it's not that far away. For others, it will happen in Q1/Q2 next year, but the challenges still remain the same.
Despite the current situation, performance still has to managed with a performance management system since it is an important aspect of both talent development and business growth. Annual appraisal is also probably the most awaited conversation for an employee, since parameters such as bonus and promotion could depend on how the year went by in terms of performance.
The Key Issues of a Performance Management System
For managers and leaders alike, some of the key issues this time around would be :
- How will organizations and leaders measure performance of their team members in these times ? A large part of the year has gone in just keeping the “lights on”–survival mode for all companies
- None of the targets and goals which were set at the beginning of the year would be relevant anymore - whether at individual, team or business level
- How to ensure effective delivery of appraisals in a remote environment when face to face interactions are not possible ?
The GRACE framework
In order to address the above, I propose a new “GRACE” framework which provides some guidance to business leaders and managers.
G – Gratitude. Make sure you leverage this time to express sincere gratitude to your employees for all their contribution during these tough times. Also, take this opportunity to express gratitude to their families who have provided adequate support on personal front.
R – Response. One way to measure employee performance would be to look at how they have responded in this crisis. Some employees might have gone out of their way to support business continuity and this would be a good time to recognize those performers.
A – Accountability. Another way to measure performance would be look at how different employees rose up to the occasion and displayed a sense of ownership. How they displayed accountability at both personal and team level to maintain productivity.
C – Community. Some employees would have led initiatives to help broader community and would have taken care of people beyond their own teams/office. This could be through company CSR activities or at a personal level. Either ways, this would be a good time to acknowledge and recognize such employees who thought beyond work.
E - Empathy. This cannot be emphasized enough. Managers delivering performance reviews should be compassionate and empathetic with people, irrespective of the nature of the appraisals. It has been tough times for all of us, so managers need to be “present” and mindful during the actual delivery, as well as be a good listener.
While you apply this framework, few other things to be kept in mind :
- Make sure that you have a follow-up conversation in person, once physical meetings are possible
- It is also very important to reinforce faith and trust in the top performing employees. A lot of them will be anxious about job prospects and their future, so it is imperative to give them confidence and acknowledge their contributions
- If there is impact on variable/bonus pay, be very transparent about it, providing the right level of business context
Hopefully this framework and the points discussed above provide some guidance in dealing with the performance management process.