Many people see it as a mountain: annual performance review. You sit in front of your manager and discuss your work performance in detail, what’s the point of that really? And what if the employer does not use performance evaluation as intended at all?
Performance appraisal is part of the traditional human resource cycle, a form of personnel management that originated in the 1920’s. This cycle includes all the moments when managers and employees talk to each other about performance, goals, and development. It actually starts with the first application. The other components are planning interview, performance interview and evaluation interview separately.
But over the years, a lot of uncertainty has arisen about the purpose of those different conversations. Sometimes companies add their own touch. As noted by “Mirjam” (real name known to the editors). Six months after Miriam was appointed to a prestigious office, the first performance interview appeared. “Everything was new to me. I had no idea what to expect.”
I was too afraid to be told that I didn’t do something right and that my contract wouldn’t be renewed
It was partly due to regulation. Her supervisor was very busy and gave little information about the upcoming meeting. I was too afraid to be told that I had done nothing right and that my contract would not be extended. This made me nervous. All possible doomsday scenarios ran through my head.”
Read also in Intermediary: Do you have a performance interview? Then ask yourself these questions’
This is where things often go wrong, according to work psychologist Annette Schulte Albers, founder of Evoli Bedrijfspsychologie. “For many people, the purpose of a performance appraisal is not clear. This creates unnecessary tension and uncertainty. A performance interview can be considered an appraisal moment. How are you doing either professionally or privately? This is the first question to ask.” The ultimate goal is a pleasant moment of contact between the manager and the employee, in order to keep someone employable for as long as possible. “So it is by definition not a moment of evaluation, let alone a reprimand.”
Like an embarrassing first date
Mirjam has different experiences. For her, performance appraisal was a nightmare. The conversation should always take place during lunch, in a restaurant outside the office. Since I don’t own a car, that means I had to drive with my supervisor. The moment I got in his car, I was already sweating.” It felt like the car ride took hours, and Miriam couldn’t swallow a single bite at the restaurant. “It reminded me of an embarrassing first date where you have to show yourself at your best.”
To have a healthy company with little absenteeism, a lot of attention to each other is needed
Although the conversation eventually went well, and has been in business for six years now, she still dreads having the annual mandatory lunch with her manager. “Sometimes I get compliments and feel happy and relieved afterwards. But I also felt like my supervisor was at a loss because the company was doing so poorly. I had no idea what to do with it. It had nothing to do with my performance, right?”
Prevent absenteeism from work
According to Schulte Albers, it is up to the director to create a positive atmosphere in the performance interview. “Of course, this also depends on the management. How do they want to treat their employees and how is this reported to the manager? For a healthy company with little absenteeism, a lot of attention is needed for each other.”
Because the higher the work pressure, the higher the chance of psychological complaints. “If you want to prevent this as an employer, keep an eye on your employees. Talk to them and listen carefully. A performance interview—or rather, a development interview—is an excellent time for this.”
Are you also afraid of your performance evaluation? These are the tips given by Annette Schulte Albers:
1. State that you are stressed or anxious. This takes some courage, but by discussing the fact that you dread conversation, your manager can take you more seriously.
2. Control. Write down a number of important topics you would like to discuss and, if necessary, ask your manager to read them beforehand. You can also suggest a site you like.
3. Try to set the record straight. The more you dread the conversation and participate in it beforehand, the more exciting it becomes.
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