The most part of school was usually fun, save for the time when you had to take that report card home. That same feeling goes for many when it comes to performance reviews at work.
“I think today things are a bit better. A few years ago, just the mention of the word appraisal would shake up everyone. Towards appraisal time, that was when all the reports that had previously been stuck on people’s desks got finished. Everyone was early for work and of course, the whispers and rumours in corridors about who was likely to lose their jobs this year around,” Henry Luboyera, a former public servant says adding: “I think the scariest thing about appraisals was that people used them as weapons of shading others in bad light. Your supervisor would for example use appraisal time to have you sucked if you were at loggerheads with them or if they felt threatened by your potential. Again, they also used to happen after a very long period of time, say once a year.
So, it becomes tricky to assess someone over a long period of time, you couldn’t do a thorough job. However, Nuriat Rehema Nanyonjo, a human resource manager, notes that the working climate and the work place have all together become turbulent in the recent time that employees and employers have to keep progressing with the changes necessitating frequent reviews of the general market environment and employee performance and thus, appraisals have taken another shape for the better.
Though performance reviews are still dreaded by some employees, how can one utilise the benefits they come with and change attitude by looking at the brighter side of performance reviews?
Know your contribution
Frederick Tumushabe, a human resource personnel at a bank, notes that people are employed as part of a bigger team that works together to realise set goals in an organisation and therefore, taking part in performance reviews helps highlight your contribution in the whole team. “Out of experience, we know that there are always those people who try to get lost in the crowd – without really doing their job. Having individual performance reviews, therefore, help employers know who is putting in the real work and who isn’t. Of course, if you are one who puts in the work, this performance review might be the thing to get you to the next level or get you noticed out of the crowd,” he says.
Know where you are
Among things that performance reviews aim at measuring are your strengths, weaknesses, and ultimately how you can improve or capitalise on these, Tumushabe notes.
“One can, therefore, decide to pursue a passion or even a career in that area where they have built competences over the years. But it is also a good thing for your employer and you to identify where you are best suited and where your skilled can be used to the maximum in the organisation. Imagine if we went to school but never had to be examined or reviewed, we would perhaps be stuck in the same class for the rest of our lives. It looks like that even with performance reviews, so look at it as something that can propel your career,” he encourages.
Conrad Mutiibwa, a career guidance counselor, says since performance reviews are documented, one might be surprised to look back on how far they have come and gauge whether there has been progress in their career. “Not many of us are vigilant in tracking and assessing our own progress, and determining whether we are moving forward or backwards or even taking the right path, so by taking that performance review as seriously as possible, one can use this for their self-assessment. This kind of assessment can help one in determining whether it is time to move onto their next job or they still have a long way to go,” he says.
“It might be hard to consider performance reviews as a motivation, but if an organisation takes these reviews as seriously as they are supposed to be taken, then the benefits with both the employer and the employee will be realised,” Mutiibwa says, adding that whereas performance reviews may come with bad news at times, they are often a motivator, especially for employees who are always willing to receive constructive criticism and those who learn from their short falls to better themselves professionally.
Mutiibwa further adds that due to the nature of the work environment, more companies and organisations are moving toward constant conversations and continuous feedback with their employees other than annual or periodical performance reviews. “Managers are encouraging their employees to always talk about their performance and likewise, performance managers are moving on to addressing performance issues of individuals in organisations on a conversational and more frequent basis,” he says.