Employee appraisals

I’m a small business and I’d like to have a system which allows me to track the performance of my employees. A lightweight appraisal process. Can you recommend something?

Yes, we can. You can use an online contact management system not only to manage your customers, but you can manage notes about your employees too. You can make those notes private or you can share them with your employees. It should allow you to track any objectives you set for your employees. You should have a regular one-to-one to track progress and set quarterly or bi-annual performance reviews. In these reviews you can sit together and review the performance in the last period and also agree on objectives for the next period. You can also rate your employees in various areas: technical skills, business skills, customer facing skills and identify areas that need improvement. Set pragmatic, quantifiable and achievable objectives rather than generic ones. Think: in the next period, how will I measure my employees’ performance on this particular objective. If you can’t think of an easy way, it’s probably too generic.

You can also keep online notes about your employees when something happens, either good or bad. For example: Julie impressed me today with her ability to conduct a very pragmatic team meeting, focus on actionable items, etc.
You can also track things that do no impress you about your employees. You need to write everything down otherwise you might forget some of that come appraisal time. We’re all humans and we forget if we’re not organized enough and keep notes. Instead we tend to retain just an emotional baggage – I vaguely know that Julie didn’t perform this year, but I can’t remember exactly why, some specific incidents that I can raise with her. This is not a very healthy attitude as employees will have no chance to improve if your feedback is very generic.

Start using your contact management system today and your employees will thank you for it!