Aaahhh Summer! Time to slow down a bit, relax, strategize... Yes, strategize!
Not every organization slows down over the summer, but many do.
That lull in the frantic pace of work is the perfect opportunity to review the results from your past initiatives and put plans in place for improvement.
For example, how did your last performance appraisal process go?
Why not take the time to review key metrics and put an action plan in place to implement improvements?
Here are some things you should look at:
Completion rates/on time completion rates
How many performance appraisals actually got completed and signed off? Were they completed on time? Can you identify factors that affected completion rates? Were there any bottlenecks in your process? Were there any individuals, departments or divisions who did not fully participate in the process?
Looking at completion rates can help you identify training needs, needs for process improvement/streamlining, needs for additional resources, etc. They can also identify disengagement with the process.
Are there practical things you can do to improve your completion/on-time completion rates for next year? Ask some of your participants. Ask some of your peers. Now set yourself a target for improvement and put a plan in place to achieve it.
Overall performance ratings
How uniform are your performance ratings? Does your organization suffer from "grade creep" where most or all employees are getting high ratings? Are there particular managers or groups who seem to have higher or lower standards than others? Are certain departments or groups underperforming? Are performance ratings properly calibrated?
Looking at trends in performance ratings can help you identify learning needs and/or management challenges. They can also identify a need for better clarity or definition of what each rating means.
Or you may need to implement a review process to help keep ratings consistent and fair? What trends to you see in your ratings? Now put a plan in place to ensure performance ratings are fair, consistent and representative of employee performance.
Ratings on competencies
Which are your organization's highest scoring competencies? Which are your organization's lowest scoring competencies? How do these high and low scoring competencies contribute to/impact your organization's strategy?Are there particular departments/divisions where scores on one or more competencies are lower than they need to be to ensure organizational success?
Do your current core competencies accurately reflect your corporate culture, values and differentiators? If you include job specific competencies in your performance appraisals, do they reflect current job requirements/priorities?Put plans in place to develop greater strength in weak scoring competencies that are important to the organization.
Update your set of competencies if needed. Communicate organizational/divisional/departmental competency strengths and weaknesses to your leadership.
Who are your organization's high performers? Are effective measures in place to retain them? Are they being fairly compensated? Do they have development plans in place to foster their career progression and groom them for greater responsibility or leadership? Are there any trends in high performance? (e.g. work for particular managers, come from particular sources, etc.)
Identify your organization's high performers and put plans in place to ensure you retain them. If you identify particular sources of high performers, put plans in place to nurture them as well.
Who are your organization's low performers? Do they have performance improvement plans in place to address their low performance? Is sufficient documentation being maintained on their low performance and remedial/developmental actions being taken?
Are there any trends in low performers? (e.g. work for particular managers, come from particular sources, etc.)Identify your organization's low performers and put plans in place to address their performance. If you identify particular sources of low performers, put plans in place to address these as well.
Impact of development
Where development plans were put in place to improve performance, did they have the desired effect? Are there development activities that are particularly effective at improving performance?
Are there development activities that don't seem to have an impact on performance?Review your list of development activities and replace those that are ineffective.
Performance appraisal process and forms
Are employees getting good quality, detailed and consistent performance appraisals? Do you need to provide managers and/or employees with training so make better use of your forms? Are there sections the forms that are difficult/complex to use? Are there sections of the forms that are unnecessary? Is your process efficient and effective? Are these steps you should remove? Are there steps you should add?
Put a plan in place to optimize your performance appraisal process and forms.
Your performance appraisal process and forms can yield a wealth of information that it make easier for you to more effectively manage your workforce.
Take some time to thoughtfully review key metrics from your last appraisal process and put plans in place to ensure your next annual process is even more effective.
Summer is a great time to step back, review your results and strategize. To help you along the way, take a look at these talent management Centers of Excellence - explore current thinking and mature your programs using these tips and best practice resources.