Post appraisal heartburns are very common
Appraisals are the most exciting days in an organisation. Mixed emotions reverberate throughout the workplace. Those who are satisfied with their appraisal will spread positivity, as opposed to those who will have issues with it. More often, they do not agree with the feedback they receive. As we are aware, one unhappy employee can spread unhappiness. The entire team can get impacted and distracted with such arguments. So as managers, how should you deal with such employees?
Disagreements and heartburns during an appraisal is very common. In many cases, it is the result of a miscommunication between the employee and the manager. The expectations of the manager do not align with that of the employees. That is the reason why the performance review comes more as a shock to the employee. Another possible explanation is that the employee was anyway dissatisfied with the company and how he/she was treated throughout the year, which can lead to misalignment of thoughts during the appraisal process.
How can we avoid such misalignments?
Gone are the days to follow traditional performance review processes where the review was conducted annually. Now we need a continuous feedback system where managers are doing regular check-ins giving employees feedback on regular intervals and course correcting things wherever required. This way, the annual performance review will just be a formality and the results will not be shocking to anyone.
Maintain complete transparency and communicate accurately
Having continuous feedback sessions is not enough but being transparent in your communication is more important. The manager has to be very clear about what he really expects from the employee and the employee is aligned to those expectations. This way, it would be easier for the employee as well, to evaluate and understand why he/she was given a bad rating.
Keep the conversation professional
Handling a disgruntled employee can be challenging. The employee can get carried away with emotions. But being a manager, one will have to maintain their cool. Otherwise, the whole conversation will be driven by emotions and the conversation will remain about proving each other’s point.
Rather than talking about what is not working, the manager will need to become a coach and a mentor. You highlight the issue, but also give constructive feedback so that the employee can improve. For instance, if you want the employee to be more agile. Then give suggestions on how the person can become agile in nature.
Be open minded
Being open minded during performance reviews is important. There can be a possibility that the employee has a genuine reason or a concern. Just because you are the manager, does not mean you will not have shortcomings. So be open to learning and also improving yourself in giving feedback to employees and giving reviews.
Ask for a written feedback from the employee
In case the employee is not happy with the review, you can give them the option of penning down their concerns. This helps in two ways, the employee also values the fact that the organisation is willing to listen to his/her concerns. Additionally, in a written communication all concerns and details are accurately mentioned and can be addressed while in a verbal communication, people tend to sway away from the main point.
A third party intervention
If the manager is aware that the conversation will get heated, then one should keep the HR in loop. An experienced HR professional can guide the manager on how one can steer the conversation and keep things to the point. Moreover, a third person feedback to the manager and the employee can keep the conversation free from any kind of biasness.
A continuous rewards and recognition system
Things get more complicated when monetary rewards are attached to the appraisal. While one gets a raise the other does not. While one will get recognised by higher designation, the other will not. Which is why continuous and instant recognition is vital. Appreciating and acknowledging even small efforts builds confidence in employees. For instance, even a poor performer who shows a little sign of improvement and that effort gets appreciated in front of everyone boosts morale. Even peer to peer recognition can be very helpful. What works best when your own colleague gives you a token of appreciation.
Post review heartburns can still be momentary. It all depends on how you treat the employee during the entire year.
Kartikay Kashyap is a former journalist and a feature writer who carries more than 3 years of experience in covering HR and employer-employee relationship issues amongst the corporate in India for digital and print media. Currently, he is part of the content and marketing team at Advantage Club as a senior content writer.