Performance management programs too often consist of independent activities that occur in isolation or with varying degrees of correlation (e.g., performance evaluations, workshops, conferences and other training and development activities).
Performance appraisals, as a component of performance management programs, are generally created and given by supervisors with numerous factors influencing their development. First and foremost, a manager’s training and experience factor into their effectiveness in developing and conducting performance appraisals. Now consider how often consistency and documented, validated objective factors from multiple perspectives, factor into performance appraisals as part of a comprehensive performance management program that directly correlates to the organization’s goals.
Performance evaluations are often designed to improve weaknesses using developmental goals rather than building upon strengths. Progressively, performance evaluations can improve weaknesses while simultaneously exploiting and developing strengths. When performance evaluations are conducted appropriately, they can be used for aligning and guiding performance with organizational goals while recognizing good performance and motivating employees.
Remember that a performance evaluation is not a professional development program. Too often organizations rely on performance evaluations in isolation. This wastes opportunities to capture revenue and leaves talent untapped.
A performance evaluation is only one tool within a performance management program.
For various reasons, it’s important to proactively manage your individual professional development. Your performance evaluation given by your employer provides you with an opportunity to better understand how your performance compares to the expectations that have been set for you. It also helps you recognize your strengths and areas for improvement that promote the alignment of your efforts with the organization’s expectations. Depending upon your organization, the performance evaluation meeting may be an appropriate time for you to express an interest in opportunities for growth.
Recognize the value in understanding your strengths and weaknesses independent of your work environment. Yes, consider and explore the feedback provided by your management – also consider your performance and the feedback you receive from the other areas in which you engage professionally. Do you volunteer in your community, serve on a board, coach a team or participate in other activities? These activities most likely influence your professional performance. Now consider the extent to which these abilities are used within your work environment.
Are you performing at maximum capacity, missing opportunities, or simply letting the “system” influence your performance and perhaps ultimately, your career? You can and should proactively participate in your performance management.
Yes, performance management programs can limit development and opportunities but this needn’t be your experience. By becoming an active participant in your professional development and career planning, you position yourself for improved performance and success.