When appraisals go AWOL, so do your employees

Employees are quitting their jobs in droves - and this is causing what economists to have dubbed 'The Great Resignation'.

When appraisals go AWOL

Employees are quitting their jobs in droves – and this is causing what economists to have dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’. With circumstances and economic factors changing working environments week by week, giving staff feedback on their performance – regardless of where they are based – is important when retaining top talent. 

Despite this, many companies are failing to effectively implement the correct appraisal processes that support employees while hybrid working. There is a growing need for HR leaders to give regular feedback while adopting agile technologies that can support these two-way conversations. Instead, there seems to be a growing disparity with what needs to be done, and what has been done, regarding the appraisal process. 

A growing disparity 

With the pandemic physically separating teams, it’s undeniable that technology has proven to be an essential tool in creating positive company cultures, acting as the glue that enables regular catch ups and feedback to support employees. 

Technology is indeed important and research by StaffCircle found that 77% of organisations have introduced new digital processes to support employees during remote working over the past year. However, this doesn’t seem to cover appraisals, with only 41% of employees saying their appraisals are conducted via HR software. This means that there is a real disparity between organisations adopting new technology (like Microsoft Teams to improve communication within the workforce), but still using paper-based and manual processes to conduct performance appraisals. 

Likewise, when asked whether they would consider leaving an organisation if they didn’t have frequent feedback and communication from their manager, 61% of employees said they would leave. However, only 11% of HR leaders noted that a lack of employee appraisals is the reason for employees leaving. No doubt, this suggests there is a growing gap between the importance of performance appraisals for employees, and HR managers still not prioritising them. 

It’s clear that having systems in place that support teams remotely is paramount, yet businesses haven’t recognised this when it comes to performance reviews. So, while employees might be speaking to their managers more frequently when they work remotely, this communication isn’t structured or productive, and both employees and organisations are missing out on key insights. 

HR leaders will need to reassess their approach to appraisals – both to make sure it’s continuous and conducted via the right tools to successfully engage and motivate employees. This means focusing on regular check ins, feedback loops, or monthly reviews to ensure your employees always have a clear direction within a company and feel valued and heard. 

‘The Great Resignation’

The pandemic has shaken up the working world. With hybrid working, organisations are no longer restricted to pick from a talent pool in one location. Rather, the job market is much more buoyant, and employees now have choice. While this is great for the employee, this is also causing a churn crisis for many organisations. 

In fact, we discovered that 63% of HR leaders and 56% of employees have reported having seen an increase in the number of people leaving their organisation in the last six months. Employees have had their eyes opened to flexible working and want to keep it that way. With both employees and HR managers identifying the ability to work flexibly as the most common reason for employees leaving an organisation. 

The importance of flexible and remote working is undeniable and rank highly in choices of roles and organisations. Nevertheless, remote working should not mean ‘out of sight is out of mind’. People still need motivation, clear career direction and progression opportunities, wherever they work. 

Retention, not resignation 

With the workforce in a state of flux it’s therefore crucial to know what is important to your people. One thing which is clear is that feedback matters.

Organisations need to effectively implement an appraisal strategy that best supports their workforce ‘ both culturally and operationally ‘ or they run the risk of further contributing to employee churn. Adopting a continuous appraisal system is the first step HR leaders must take to transform the ‘The Great Resignation’ into the ‘The Great Retention’.

Mark Seemann
Mark Seemann

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