Saturday, February 28, 2015

Is Self-Assessment a Digital Way for Managing Talent Performance?

The self-assessment of performance is not for boosting ego, but for inspiring authenticity; growth mind, engagement, trust, and innovation.

Many organizations still have an old-fashioned view that the employee's self-assessment is irrelevant to the overall review and only serves to create conflict when there are discrepancies in perception. However, digital makes business more transparent & less hierarchical, inspires authenticity and growth mind, is self-reflection, self-assessment, and self-improvement scenario becoming the “healthy” digital cycle for talent growth and management?

It becomes more important of including a self-evaluation component as part of employee performance management because digital is the age of choices: A self-assessment/evaluation gives the employee the opportunity to self-reflect “who am I,” and organizing their thoughts related to the various performance indicators. Self-assessment focuses the mind and ensures that everyone has their say and have buy-in to the process. They are very important as it provides a person's perceived value through their own lens. In addition, it will provide a benchmark against actual measured performance. The larger the gap the more development required. It is highly important that any employee and person self-reflects and be able not only to describe what s/he is able to do but also to reflect in a constructive manner how anything could be done in a different way even if a process has been successful. This generates in a person new ideas and is a way how a person can keep him/herself up to the standards required.

Self-reflection, self-assessment, and self-improvement scenario is a digital theme for talent management. This starts with the individual determining what goals s/he wants to achieve then; planning a way to get there; determining the milestones/measurements that signal whether it is going in the right direction and, if not, is flagging a warning that maybe the plan needs to be re-thought; the results documented objectively with qualitative/quantitative measurements. The manager's role is to ensure the plans are in line with corporate direction, the individual has thought out the plans thoroughly, provided any necessary support (including necessary training), and reviewed results on a regular basis to ensure the individual is getting where s/he wants to go.

Performance communication in the digital era needs to be the “two-way street.” It is seen to be a one-way street where the manager has to "tell" the employee how bad or well they have done, which leads into some defensive mode being triggered and escalating into a serious relationship breakdown. The review has to come from both sides and it is important to find out where the employee is and how they feel their performance is going. That in itself can open up useful discussions between the employee and line manager. Including self-evaluation based on the pre-agreed performance and behavioral standards allows both parties to reflect and collect facts about the status quo and a conversation departing from this is unlikely to become a problem.

Self-evaluations are a key way and motivator to get the individual being reviewed into the formalized process. Certainly, the reviewer should have consistent performance discussions throughout the review period; any (not micro-) manager will gain insight as to what the individual has contributed and deems important through a self-evaluation process. Providing straightforward self-evaluation tools on core competencies with benchmarking, simple questionnaires, and access to peer feedback in an easy to use, the employee-centric app is key to make it efficient and useful. Throughout the performance cycle, feedback and counseling should be a continuous process. Self-evaluation helps individuals in taking ownership, responsibility, and keeps focused. This also ensures the alignment and cascading of organizational goals to individual goals…

A good performance review is a dialogue: And even then ideally the manager should do only 20-30% of the talking between the employee and the manager; gives the employee the opportunity to share their thoughts on how they have contributed to the company and look at their future contributions.! A self-assessment by the employee encourages employees to share with their manager in advance of the performance review meeting (on a voluntary basis), as the shared insight can be highly useful. However, employees do need support and education in how to get the most from the performance management process, to avoid biases, especially in how to regularly acquire and use feedback appropriately, create 'evidence' for the performance review, and have an attitude of ownership rather than being a passive 'victim' of the process.

The purpose of such self-reflection, self-assessment, and self-improvement performance cycle is not just about encouraging individualism, more about inspiring authenticity; growth mind, engagement, trust, and innovation (the better or new way to do things). It is pursuing the digital way to run a purpose-driven organization by well-aligning employees’ career goals & purpose with companies’ vision & mission, and harnessing the culture of transparency, learning agility, and innovation.


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