Preston-based firm Suresite realised that its appraisal process was too vague to provide any real insights on company-wide performance. The annual appraisal form was brief and limited to strengths and weaknesses, which were judged subjectively. The firm wanted to be able to measure individual performance and dedication to company values, but many of its values were open to interpretation. Suresite’s review process also lacked buy-in from managers, who struggled to see the benefits.
Suresite started by giving concrete definitions of the behaviour it wanted to encourage. Led by people manager Janine Wilson, Suresite implemented a behavioural competency framework. The framework clearly related to the company values and detailed related behaviours. It meant that rather than leaving values to be defined by each manager, management could create a set definition across the company.
The next step was to revamp the appraisal form. The form originally asked “woolly” questions that didn’t get to the core of staff performance. Suresite looked at elements more specific to staff roles, like the quality of work, efficiency and teamwork. The new appraisal process assigned clear objectives and KPIs based on company goals and areas for improvement. This helped to give both staff and managers a clear idea of what each employee was working towards.
Since reworking their appraisal process, Suresite has greater clarity on which of its 40 staff members deserve bonuses. By defining good performance across the company the firm no longer has to compare personal management opinions – there’s a set framework to work from.
Wilson also believes the new appraisal system has engaged managers and helped them to see the value of setting concrete objectives for staff.
“It’s so important to get management on board with appraisals,” Wilson said. “They need to be championing them and be able to understand how they directly influence teams. You also need to be able to benchmark people against something, particularly if you want staff to live by your values. Values are too open for interpretation, so specifics need to come into play.”