Expenses uploaded? Tick.
Annual leave approved? Check.
Personal development plan agreed? Er... what?
Your HRIS / Sharepoint / self-service portal is an administrative tool. But setting objectives, working on your career and taking a step back from daily management are strategic tasks that require reflection and creativity.
Your head needs to be in a different place when thinking about performance and appraisals. So why do so many HR departments try and bolt an appraisal system on to something that's more about ticking boxes?
Answer: it suits HR. Maybe there's a good relationship with the supplier so it sort of makes sense. And there's only one login.
This thinking is wrong.
An appraisal system is for employees and managers, not just for HR. What suits them? What will actually help them? What will encourage them to set meaningful objectives and keep track of them?
A good appraisal system can change patterns of behaviour for the better. Seriously. In the way Hailo and Uber have changed the way we think about getting home, the right system can get people doing better one-to-ones, giving continuous feedback and updating objectives as priorities change. All this is a far cry from just uploading a Word template at the end of the year.
So what do you need to look for?
The key thing is the user experience (UX). Those of you in the tech scene know already that UX is the killer skill these days and UX professionals are in very high demand. Companies rise and fall based on the UX of their products - and many notable large scale IT disasters can be attributed to a terrible user interface.
When reviewing an appraisal system, put yourself into the shoes of a line manager and ask:
- Can I get a feel for the way the system works just by looking at the home screen?
- Is it interesting and attractive to look at? If it's boring, it's probably generic. And generic is the enemy of engagement.
- Is it obvious what these buttons will do?
- Does it put you into an appraisal "frame of mind"?
- Does it help you spot patterns that only emerge over months and years?
If it piques your curiosity, engages you and maybe even gets you a little excited, it will work for your staff too. That will be the one to go for - so don't settle for anything less.