Why You NEED To Ditch Performance Appraisals
Performance Appraisals. Love Them or Hate Them?
To some extent, appraisals do work but are usually too far apart and take a significant amount of work to organize. Although the results can be positive, employees worry about them, and if you bring up something negative which wasn't recent, it looks like you are picking on them.
We want our agents to be happier when doing their job, not more stressed and demotivated.
When I was on the receiving end of performance appraisals, I never liked them, and the delay was the biggest problem.
My opinion was if I do something wrong, the sooner you tell me about it, the sooner I can fix it, and if I do something right let know, and I'll do it again.
COME ON, IT'S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE!
Imagine if you were training a new kitten or a puppy to do its business outside, or in a litter tray and you waited for three months before you gave them any feedback. You would end up knee deep in sh**!
With that said, here are five reasons to show that appraisals are hurting your business and not helping it!
1. Appraisals Take a lot of Work to Organise!
Oh spreadsheets, how much I hate them. I've wasted so much time preparing appraisals because of them; time which could have been spent coaching and improving the performance of my team.
Not only spreadsheets but finding all of the data which I needed to show to my staff. The examples of good calls, bad calls, the complaints, the positive comments and drafting out how they could improve. It was hell preparing for them.
For the fast-paced businesses out there, appraisals can be rushed and done ineffectively. You might as well have not bothered at all!
Think about the process you have to do to perform appraisals: Analyse the employee's performance, look at their data, complete the forms, hold the meeting and take time out of everyone's day. It's believed performance appraisals take up around 2 million hours a year.
Can you really afford to spend this much time? I'd rather do it more effectively, and quicker!
2. Staff Leave Before They Get to Their First Appraisal
High staff turnover is a harsh fact for almost all call centers. Some agents leave before they even get to their first performance appraisal, wasting the money spent training them.
Why does this happen?
Lots of reasons, but one is that everybody wants to be told 'well done' once in a while. Waiting months for an appraisal to acknowledge an individual's efforts is madness and can leave some new hires with the impression that you don’t care about what they are doing.
This delayed feedback is also something which as a manager, I struggled with. I cared about and valued my staff. I wanted to give them praise, but I didn't have the means to collect the necessary data easily and couldn't spare the time to collect it to give them performance feedback frequently.
3. They Are Not Listening to You
So you've managed to organise all of your data into a spreadsheet for an appraisal. It's now time to get to work. You sit down with an agent for their appraisal and start discussing the mistakes which happened in the past months with them.
The staff member can hardly remember a conversation they had a few hours ago, let alone months ago. Naturally, they feel you're unjust even mentioning them, and get defensive.
When I had to do this, I didn't want to bombard my staff with just negativity, so I tried to explain to them that I just wanted to help them improve, while at the same time, telling them what was good with their performance - but most didn't believe me and only heard the negatives.
4. Repetition is Habit Forming
If you allow your employees to do the wrong thing repeatedly, then those things will become a habit, which is hard to change. For employees, it often seems easier just to quit, rather than try and change the way they have always done things!
5. Faster Feedback Produces Better Performance
Appraisals are a delayed method of feedback, and immediate feedback is proven to improve performance.
6. Appraisals Can Actually Cause Good Employees To Leave
Yes, you read that right. Giving out an appraisal could actually be one of the most anti-productive practices you have in your workplace.
Imagine you've been working as hard as you can for the past year, putting in the extra hours and you feel you've made a real difference. Now imagine your boss comes and seems to focus on the areas you're underperforming in.
Unfortunately, this is the nature of the appraisal for many businesses. "Well done for this, BUT you need to do better in X, Y and Z.
Adobe carried out a study, and found that 52% of workers were negatively surprised by the feedback given, whilst 22% of workers cried after the appraisals. This shouldn't be what appraisals are about; encourage your employees, don't destroy their souls!
7. They're Inconsistent
Since there's no set method for appraisals and can be largely prone to subjectivity, it's going to be impossible to consistently conduct them.
Sure, you can measure them based on sales, or calls made, but that doesn't tell the full story.
If they've made more calls than needed, that doesn't always mean they're a good worker; the quality of those calls may have been nowhere good enough.
On the other hand, they may not have reached their goal due to issues beyond their control. How can you tell someone they're no good when it's not their fault?
Then of course, there's bias.
Whether you know it or not, you'll be biased towards different employees. Some you will like more than others, it's natural!
But that's not fair on the employees receiving the appraisal, is it? Everyone deserves to be judged on the same performance scale, not how much you like them.
A Never-Ending Cycle
Do you feel like you keep repeating yourself? You hire new staff, some leave before the first appraisal which you've spent a lot of time organizing, and after it, a lot more leave. Repeat.
Break Out of It - Upgrade to an Evaluation System that Works!
If you want to break this cycle, you need to ditch the performance appraisal method.
You might then ask, “How would I measure my staffs' performance?”
Good question. You could try some of the available quality assurance software on the market (we tried most of them, and none of them worked), or you can save yourself the hassle and try Cxceed.
What Makes a Good QA System?
First of all, and I can’t stress this enough, a good quality assurance system has to enable frequent evaluations - The more frequent, the better, with daily evaluations being the ideal option.
Why Daily Evaluations?
To repeat my opening words: If I do something wrong, the sooner you tell me about it, the sooner I can fix it.
Look at it this way – it’s an appraisal done daily.
You don’t need to bother with months worth of spreadsheet data, and you don’t wait months to do them. It works even better for the agents. Daily evaluations don’t overwhelm them with mistakes that happened months ago, but rather they are pointed out as soon as they happen.
It's time for call centers and businesses to upgrade their out of date methods to a quality system that will help grow their business.
If you have any experiences with appraisals or evaluation systems that you might want to share, leave a comment down below!
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