Despite popular belief, most (good) HR professionals got into the field due to a desire to help and support the employees and companies they work for, not because they love wielding a rule book!
It can be a difficult balancing act being the management and employee go-between, and of course sometimes HR has to make hard decisions and relay bad news. But that doesn’t mean we like doing it. HR are also the harbingers of the dreaded appraisal – or at least that is how it can seem to employees!
However, the team at Carbon360 think good appraisals, and good HR practitioners should be kind, positive and constructive. So, we have compiled this list of ten things, (based on our own experiences, and the feedback of our clients) that will help convince employees to show both appraisals, and the HR department a little love.
N.B., Thanks to our clients for talking to us about how your appraisals are going and for helping inspire some of our points!
1. Stop the HR babble.
That means when relaying feedback from appraisals, in the phrasing of the appraisal questions themselves, or simply when you talk to employees. If you bombard employees with irrelevant or unnecessary HR speak, they will feel alienated and you will feel like the enemy. Speak plainly, clearly and impartially. And obviously, be friendly!
2. Make time to get to know employees
You are the human element in your businesses structure. Don’t make all your HR meetings purely about business and procedure. Being called into the HR office can be a scary prospect, and even more so if this is the only contact employees have with their HR department. Instead, make your face known, and make time to ask a little about employees, if for no reason other than friendly curiosity. You are in a great position to treat each employee as an individual, rather than simply a worker.
3. Be impartial in a way that bosses and peers can’t.
Although the HR department are very busy, we are able to take time to talk to employees more often than bosses are. We can also talk to employees in a way that they may not be able to with management. HR are there to advise and unless there is a serious issue, are there to allow employees voice their concerns in a space that is supportive and anonymous. Go out of your way to give time to listen to and help solve problems, no matter how small.
“Carbon360 go above and beyond at all times to offer outstanding customer service. They are clearly passionate and dedicated to the services that they offer. Nothing is too much bother when something needs resolving”. SSA Award feedback.
4. Give feedback that is positive and encourages employees
Appraisal feedback can be scary, but as well as being the bringers of bad news, HR can much more often be the ones to relay praise and encouragement. By using the feedback from 360-appraisals constructively, you can make feedback meetings something to look forward to, rather than something to dread. You are the face and voice of feedback, so make it a friendly one!
“I strongly believe that 360 appraisals are the most effective method of ensuring that a company, and its people, deliver their objectives. Used effectively, they assist individual development and, from a corporate perspective, they confirm that the business is delivering both its vision and mission”. dunnhumby.
5. As well as giving feedback, you also need to listen.
Appraisal feedback is a time when you can listen to employees, and get their opinions on what they think about the information you are giving them. Both the individual and their peers will have a different perspective and ideas about the role than their managers. You are in a great position to be an impartial ear to their ideas, and a good sounding board for things they have not yet taken to managers. Also, you can implement some of their ideas, which will make both them and you happy!
“Carbon360’s appraisals have given the person being appraised ownership and control of the process: they define the relevant members of their working community to give feedback and record their own objectives”. Pearson Shared Services.
6. Provide and encourage open and honest communication
You are in a position to encourage communication. Not just when it comes to appraisal feedback or on-going goal setting, but day to day as well. Staff who communicate with each other, and communicate regularly with their HR department are much more likely to be happy and engaged at work.
7. Use your report wielding power for good!
Often thought of as sticklers for fun-inhibiting rules, reports and regulations, HR should let people know that the reason they document things thoroughly is for the good of the staff. Not only do they have the power of impartiality, they also have the power to minimise unnecessary drama by nipping problems in the bud while limiting the need for unpleasantness between staff. And good reporting means you can check back in with staff to see if any issues or concerns they have previously raised have been resolved.
“Carbon360 encourages a structured, positive and objective approach to appraisals as relevant points are retained on the system for further discussion”. Cubic Transportation Systems
8. Use goals and targets to improve things for individual staff as well as the company.
Just like appraisal feedback, setting goals and targets for staff can sound scary. Employees may see this in a negative light – ‘unless I reach this goal/hit that target, I’m going to be in trouble with HR’. However, as an impartial HR practitioner, you can change the way staff view this, and make it a positive experience that could improve employee’s careers and morale. Let staff have input on their goals, discuss with them what they would like to achieve, and be the person that can put those suggestions to management. Goals and targets are there to help them progress in their career, and to a great extent, HR is the enabler.
“We have been given the flexibility we need with Carbon360 as each business unit has been able to write its own behaviour statements and competencies. This consultative approach ensures that people are fully engaged in the process and competencies are accurately tailored for each department” Hermes Fund Managers Ltd.
9. Be the key to a better salary and career progression
As well as dealing with complaints, HR are also the people you can go to when you think you aren’t being paid enough. Asking for a pay rise from a manager is a scary business, so HR are there to advise you and do it for you. What could be better than that?
10. Be a great networker and party planner
Whatever the size of the company you work for, you are in a position to organise fun events that get staff and managers together in a more personal way than they simply do at work. That means you are in a position to listen to employee suggestions about work socials, parties and team building exercises that don’t make everyone cringe. Obviously, you won’t be able to put all of these suggestions into practice, but simply listening and implementing some employee ideas about non-work related pursuits is bound to make the HR department more popular!
So basically, there are plenty of things to love about HR, and about performance management. Make the time and a genuine effort so that employees see these things, and your job will be much more rewarding, and will make you much happier. And we all know that happy employees are productive employees – that goes for HR too!
10 ways to make your employees love appraisals - and their HR department
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