How many of you look forward to your annual checkup with your doctor or your semi-annual visit with your dentist? Some of you may, but a majority of us certainly don’t jump up and down when it comes time for these visits.
When I am visiting with my doctor and he says, “Megan, your cholesterol is high. If you continue to make the choices you are, your cholesterol may lead to heart disease or a stroke.” I can stomp my foot and argue with him, or I can listen to his advice.
The same thing is true for the dentist. If my dentist tells me that I need to floss more or I will increase my chances for gum disease, I can listen to her advice or not.
Not many of us may like these visits or enjoy hearing this kind of feedback. Why do we do it? We go because that’s what responsible adults do to maintain our health.
The same thing is true for the appraisal process. It may not be something we all get excited about but as responsible employees, we need to participate in this process in order to maintain the health of our organization.
And just like a doctor, it is the role of the appraiser to enter into the conversation with our employee with tact and a good bedside manner. Doctors have to deliver bad news all the time. While there may be emotional outbursts from the patient, the doctor remains unemotional and unbiased. They don’t judge and they use empathy to convey the factual information their patient needs to hear. As appraisers, our role is to remain unemotional but relay information in a tactful manner to our employees about the behaviors that may be hazardous to their health or employment within the organization.
So, I have a dentist appointment and she tells me I need to floss more. If I walk away from that appointment and don’t floss until 3 days leading up my next appointment – will it likely make any difference? Probably not. The same thing is true for other things in our life. Not many of us enjoy budgeting, but we pay attention to our budget all year round to make sure we don’t get ourselves into trouble. Even with things we enjoy, like learning a new musical instrument, we wouldn’t be very successful if we only practiced once a year.
Performance management works the same way. If we just pay attention to it once a year, during the appraisal process, we won’t be very successful. Just like our health, it’s a daily discipline. Forming relationships with our employees, meeting with them on a regular basis, paying attention, asking questions, and communicating – these are all things that should be happening often, not just when it comes time to do the appraisal.
As appraisers, we are the doctors. Our job is to keep our employees, our team, and our company healthy. We do this by practicing performance management throughout the year. In addition, when we work with our employees, it is essential to rely on the facts, remove emotions, and have a good bedside manner. Through these steps, we can improve the overall health of our employees and our organization.