Ditching Appraisals – Step 7 – Start to Design

After a longer break than I’d planned, here comes the next step in relieving you, your staff and your company of the unnecessary burden of performance appraisals; the first steps towards a new design.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For me, this is the best bit, the part where you can have a bit of fun and take all of the hard work that you and your team have put into reviewing what is currently in place and testing old and new assumptions about the purpose of appraising performance.

One of the major challenges in this phase of the project is to NOT try to construct the whole platform for the future.  Right now, you need to build a framework, a model that lists at least the following

  • The underlying assumptions of the design
  • A clear statement of the purpose of the new system
  • The primary features of the new way of working that will be expanded in the full desgn
  • A flag to the business about which areas of the design may need significant resources

Armed with this high-level view, you can go back to the senior management AND out to the wider community in the organisation.  Remember, you want this new system to work, and work better than the old system, so why not ask for feedback on your proposal.  It is better to do this now, than to spend valuable business resource crafting something that the rank and file in the business don’t like or don’t want.

Listen to the feedback and evaluate it constructively.  It is important that you treat this overview of your design as an experiment.  You might even consider including alternative approaches to aspects of the design, but do so with caution.  Your fellow employees might regard these as a closed ‘either/or’, and that’s not what you’re looking for.

Remember, at this stage of the design, you are trying your best to predict what will happen when you introduce a new system.  You may, for example, predict that training all of the staff with supervisory roles about techniques to give strong, constructive, but non-confrontational feedback will enable the dropping of the annual merry-go-round of appraisal and review.  If this is your prediction, then state it clearly in the design.  Making this bold statement will allow your reviewers to challenge it, provide alternatives or to agree wholeheartedly with you.