Most of us in business today have grown up in a work culture that says you have to evaluate your employee’s performance.
And the employee evaluations are based on goals that were set in place earlier in the year then rated against achievement. Many times, out of that rating, you’re taking that success or the lack of success and equating it to how much merit they deserve in a compensation process. That’s a look-back philosophy.
Quite honestly, most employees dread the traditional look-back model as do most supervisors.
Because now we’re sitting down having tough conversations toward the end of the year about what we set in place in January, and the world has changed; we lost track; we weren’t really focused. This traditional look-back goal evaluation had its place in a concentrated period of time during World War II. The military used it to quickly assess soldiers: which are the best candidates for leadership, for officer training, for the battlefield etc. They needed a forced ranking model that was fast and sorted by potential in a bell-curve fashion.
With that bell curve analysis, they were trying to get to that top 10%, grab them, and put them in the officers’ training programs, and the rest were just assigned to bulk needs. This model got translated into large organizations such as GE and others, that took the forced ranking very seriously. Their thought was that you’re either moving up or you’re moving out. Well, that sort of worked when you had thousands of people coming back from the war looking for jobs. Contrast to today: what happens when you don’t have as many people in the workforce, and you can’t be quite so choosy in just taking the cream of the crop? It means you must bring in people with good capabilities or good potential, and you have to equip and build them with training and coaching.
A different model is needed.
The innovative employee evaluation approach we are developing at Achilles Group is what we call agile growth and development: a continuous, ongoing effort to equip people with capabilities. This is a targeted effort where individuals on a team are positioned to learn and become proficient in another aspect of the work – developing another capability and skill progression. And every time a team member gets on board with a new capability more team capacity is gained. This is a forward-looking approach where team members are continuously progressing based upon the needs, demands, and opportunities of the business. Goals are designed based on current team capabilities and capacity but are set in the future – a road map of where we want the individual and business to go. And because it’s continuous, it requires frequent coaching, check-ins, and feedback which is more dynamic and relevant throughout the year versus the traditional annual look-back model.
Of course, an all-or-nothing choice is not a part of the Achilles vocabulary. We tailor any process or deliverable to our client’s business. Whether it’s traditional, innovative, or a hybrid solution, we listen, learn, and respond to what you and your team needs.
We equip and encourage leaders to make smart people decisions.
HR Consulting Houston