We’ve been thinking about the appraisal season at a company, when managers must answer questions about employees’ “interpersonal” and “teamwork” skills, and employees often dread the resultant meetings because no one likes the process, but everyone recognizes that it will be tied into raises, bonuses and opportunities for advancement within the company.
In this process, we usually forget to focus on employee retention and morale, but are focused exclusively on what we think is better for the company.
So why not think outside the box, and use this as an opportunity for employees to appraise the company as well? What if there were a one-to-one correspondence between questions that are asked about employees by managers (and by employees of themselves) and questions that are asked of employees about the company?
This would be a prime opportunity to understand what kinds of issues are being discussed at the water coolers. In addition to providing an opportunity for employees to weigh in on their feelings about the company, this appraisal can provide a venue for management to receive some unusual insight into the deeper workings, or roadblocks, within the organization.
Furthermore, you might discover an employee, buried deep within your organization, who has a truly creative mind that should be fostered and encouraged.
Here are some sample suggestions of the types of corresponding questions we are thinking of.
- Quality of Work. In addition to evaluating the quality of work of the individual employee, ask employees about the quality of the work being generated by the company as a whole. How is the company performing per its own mission statement, goals, or product performance guidelines? How might its performance be improved?
- Communication. In addition to discussing how well an individual employee handles necessary communications within his or her department, invite employees to rate the company’s communication processes and openness, and provide suggestions for improvement.
- Team Work. In addition to evaluating how employees work with their team members, invite employees to evaluate how the different teams work together, and make suggestions for improvements to company structure or organization.
- Service Focus. In addition to discussing how individual employees handle relationships with customers and colleagues, ask employees how they would feel about being on the receiving end of your company’s services.
Adding this opportunity for feedback to the employee appraisal process will boost employee retention and morale because employees will understand that their assessment of the company’s performance also matters. When you are able to implement even one or two of the suggestions received through this process, employees’ sense of their value to the company will correspondingly increase, as will their personal investment in the company, and commitment to their individual role within it.