Performance Review and Appraisal: Discussing Development Needs

performance appraisalOne of the most motivational parts of the performance review or appraisal meeting is the discussion we have with our employees about their development and career progression needs. But here’s something interesting. According to recent CIPD research, although:

• 75% of managers say they always / sometimes discuss employee development and career progression during one to ones (including, presumably, their performance review or appraisal meetings)

• just 38% of employees say this happens

So what’s the reason for this gap between what managers say they are doing and what employees say they are getting?

My guess is that during the performance review or appraisal meeting (which is when we are often best placed to talk about these needs) we are not bringing enough focus to having a helpful discussion aimed at helping our employees a) identify their development needs and then b) exploring how they can meet those needs

OK, how do we help our employees assess their development and career progression needs during the review or appraisal meeting? In this article I’m going to focus on development needs not specifically related to the employee gaining a promotion – because not all our employees have a burning desire, or possibly the ability, to climb to the next level (we’ll cover promotion in another blog!)

Here are a few ideas

1. Put assessing development needs on the performance review or appraisal meeting agenda

This might sound obvious but it’s important that there is a specific item on the agenda of the performance appraisal meeting for discussing and agreeing development plans. It’s easy to get so involved in other aspects of the meeting that either employee development gets forgotten all together or it’s dealt with in a rushed five minutes at the end of the meeting (I’m reminded of a manager I had once who said ‘there will be no promotions this year so there’s no point talking about your career development is there?’)

2. Focus on strengths

As I’ve said, not every employee wants to be promoted (or maybe, they’re not ready for that promotion yet) but the majority of employees would love the chance to explore how they can build on their strengths

The review or appraisal meeting is a great time to look at strengths because, as part of the performance review part of the meeting, you will have identified achievements and successes and it’s just a very short step then to identifying the strengths the employee has demonstrated in order to gain those achievements and successes

It’s all about focussing on our employee’s:

• Identified strengths

• Potential strengths

So that we can then creatively explore:

• How our employee’s strengths could be developed

• How potential strengths could be tested

3. Address areas for improvement

It might go without saying but, of course, if during the performance review part of the meeting we and our employee have identified areas for improvement then those too are development needs (and, probably, high priority!)

Key questions to ask your employee are:

What are the skills, knowledge or experience you think you need to develop to improve this area of performance?

How can we best meet these needs?

4. Focus on areas of interest

Another approach is to help our employee identify what they are interested in that they would like to develop further. It might be they would like to learn more about client management or maybe they would like to develop their skills in networking

Of course it might be that they want to develop their interest in table tennis which, unless you are running a table tennis manufacturing business, is not really going to work is it? So, you need at all times to…

5. Focus on ‘dual value’

Although primarily focused on our employee’s personal development, any developmental activities undertaken should contribute to their effectiveness in their current job, or act as preparation for additional responsibilities

In simpler terms, developmental activities should provide what I call dual value:

• Value to the employee through the development of skills, knowledge and experience

• Value to the organisation or business through the employee’s increased effectiveness

The easiest way to check that development activities pass the ‘dual value’ test is to ask the question

How will developing this skill/ building this knowledge /gaining this experience help you to be more effective in your work?

Performance Review and Appraisal Development Needs Discussions – Summary

As is so often the case, discussing development needs in the performance review or appraisal meeting works best when both we and our employees are well prepared (read more on how our employees can prepare for performance review or appraisal meetings here). And, of course, you can (and should) discuss these development needs more often than in the annual performance review or appraisal meeting. It’s all about bringing some focus and commitment to helping our employees with this element or their working lives that is so important and so motivational

Would you like to learn – in just 10 minutes – how to run motivational performance review or appraisal meetings?

Then why not take a look at my Kindle book ‘A step-by-step guide to running performance appraisal meetings that that motivate your staff to higher performance and higher job satisfaction’

This guide was easy to read, well structured and easy to follow… I particularly liked: the emphasis on motivation; the inclusion of job satisfaction ( not something I had come across as a specific appraisal topic before); the approach of drawing in the staff member to the whole process ( making them prepare and getting them to give their views first); the idea of sharing performance feedback and that the manager should be prepared to change their mind on whether objectives have been met in the light of information given by the member of staff.

You can check it out on Amazon (and try a sample) HERE

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.