TMA Vision on HR Cycle

Before implementing reforms or modifications, you should ask yourself why you make appraisals. Appraisal interviews are used to gain more control and grip over the performance of employees and the payments they get. Performance and payments are closely entwined in that sort of interviews. Sometimes I have an impression that performance is discussed only for two reasons: to be in control of permanently paid bonuses and high salaries or to exercise control over the employees whose performance is below average.

The role of management

When you want to start with a new set-up of the interview cycle you should first define the role of management in this process. And also, ask yourself in what a way managers assist employees in their development or assessment?

HR specialists regularly tell me that ‘the best boy or girl in the class’ often becomes a manager. The conclusion I can make from it is that most managers are still professionals in their field, content experts. You obviously can’t manage without having knowledge of the subject. When it comes to managing the whole organization we can single out three main focus areas: content, people and business. And no one can successfully fulfil all the three roles at a time. Normally people have a strong preference for one role. Some people are able to perform two roles at a good level. But all three? This is a utopia.

In practice, we see that content and business are often overrepresented in management while the aspect of ‘people’ remains in the shade (is of minor importance). Interviews with employees about their development also belong to that part. When the responsibility for conducting good quality interviews lies with managers you may wonder how you can guide managers through that process.

Away with structure

According to HR specialists, with ‘appraisal interviews’ being discarded, there is often more need for flexibility. Perhaps interviews without any structure. Different systems are also questionable as they have become too complicated. I am personally convinced that it is not systems, structures or processes that contribute to the employees’ feeling they are not being heard. There are often misinterpretations covering the fact that it has become problematic to conduct a good interview.

The right focus

Appraisal systems are meant for approximately thirty percent of the organization, i.e. for the high potentials and underperformers. If you want to simplify the rewarding system you should make sure that people who perform well also get a pay rise from time to time. And if you want to have a bonus system you should pay bonuses only for objective reasons such as good revenue or an achieved goal. In such a way you can eliminate the subject of financial incentives from the interview. Nowadays it is necessary to offer an improvement plan to the employees whose performance is below average, while recording and controlling it is inherent in labor law.  W can assume that you don’t want to implement that difficult and complicated process only for thirty percent of the organization.

So, how can you approach that issue?

  1. You should conduct at least one development interview a year. Have a dialogue with an employee and set a goal that your employee will be guided and supported in his/her development which can contribute to the objectives of the organization.
  2. You should avoid such topics as rewards and malfunctioning during the interview.
  3. You shouldn’t let the manager conduct an interview but assign this task to an internal professional who has a talent for coaching and developing people. Keep the manager posted though so that he/she could see the results.
  4. If you want to reward someone you should do it as simple and objectively as possible. Direct your system at the seventy percent of the organization that perform well. People whose performance is below average come to the surface during compulsory development interviews where an improvement plan is usually sufficient. The employees who are entitled to pay rises or bonuses can discuss it during a face-to-face conversation.

The use of the TMA approach

Appraisals are about control, money and performance, while the current labor market and economy ardently demonstrate the necessity of binding and attracting talents for a longer term. The question of the management should actually be: ‘Can we get an insight whether we have enabled everyone to a sufficient extent to develop in a safe and pleasant environment so that they can perform and contribute at their best?’