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Online Appraisals - Secrets of Success


Online Appraisal Systems - Secrets of Success

The following is an extract from the advice posted to clients implementing the SkillGate Talent system. We believe training managers will find these simple lessons useful whatever system they implement.

Keep it simple
It might sound obvious, but once HR managers start to think about all the things that can be included in an online Performance Management System (scoring, 360 degree feedback, mentoring, etc) they can get a bit over-excited about what they want. In practice, the best systems are the simple ones (e.g. a narrative text input by a line manager may be better than a more prescriptive form with several input-select elements).


It is a culture change

Moving from paper-based systems to online inevitably causes some cultural challenges. Managers used to the flexibility of paper systems can initially perceive the new online system as being 'unforgiving'. To this end, it's a good idea to plan ahead and ensure enough ‘hand holding’ is in place. The good news is that managers quickly adapt.


Focus on the 'process' as well as the 'form'

When briefing form designers, HR people tend to focus on the appraisal form and the form elements. It is equally important to focus on the process. In other words, who will complete which elements, in what order, and when? What reminders and warnings will be sent out, and when? What are the review stages and how far apart should they be?


Beware of being too prescriptive with dates

HR managers tend to think of appraisals with date control (e.g. complete Stage 1 in January, with a review in July). Online, you have a lot more control over the process and everyone’s progress. As a result you can be less prescriptive about dates. We have found that, in practice, using date deadlines can cause more problems than they solve.


Appraisals, objectives and actions work on different time scales

Most annual appraisal forms include a section on setting objectives. However, objectives and actions do not have the same time frames as formal appraisals.

In effect:

·         'appraisals' usually follow an annual cycle

·         'objectives' often have longer or shorter terms than the annual cycle

·         'actions' (i.e. the activities an individual undertakes to achieve
    objectives) typically have various durations.

To deal with this, we suggest viewing 'objectives' and 'actions' as linked to, but independent from, the appraisal form. The advantages are that at each appraisal the objectives from the last can be considered, and delegates/managers can add or edit actions (and sometimes objectives) at any time during the year.


More is more

Regular performance review (appraisal) sessions are considered most useful for performance development. Traditional systems are annual because of the administration issues. With online sessions they can be at any time and made much more frequent.


SMART Options

To be valuable, objectives should be SMART. For us this means practical, monitored activities are linked to the goal. In our experience activities can be divided into three types:

·         actions

·         online training

·         training requests


Management Review

Motivation for delegates to complete actions and training comes largely from manager review. It is important that managers can monitor and review delegate progress at any stage (and are involved in the training selection).  Linking training CPD points and Badges also helps with visibility.


If you would like to take a quick look a SkillGate Talent system please watch the following video.  Get in touch if you'd like to learn more!

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