One of the most common ways to incentivise staff is to have an annual bonus, traditionally this is either at Christmas or at the end of a tax year. But one of the many questions is how do you effectively assess staff in a non liner productive industry. Well the best way is to compare them to peers, many companies use the bell curve to achieve this with the principle being when graphed it will have the appearance of a bell, with as many people having exceeded expectations as those that have not. Some elements to consider listed below:
Set clear objectives
Even for staff with no sales or service targets you can set more broad objectives and even align to companies performance. This is a way to ensure staff stay focused and should be aligned closely to the companies objectives, whether that be growth through sales, improvement through service or to maintain current standards. Whilst not everyone has direct relationship with more specific targets they can influence this and also means that if the company does not succeed then the employees will not be eligible for a bonus. Setting this at the start of the year is vital, you cannot judge someone on performance without first telling them what aspects you are judging them on. Also you should regularly discuss this with the employees ensuring they understand how they can influence the different elements they may be judged on.
Make sure evidence is used
It is important that both the manager and the employee gather evidence throughout the year to support any decision about performance. This should be discussed regularly to ensure that nothing is missed, often the biggest mistake about review meetings is that they focus on more current performance and fails to recognise performance from previously in the year. Evidence can take the form of stakeholder feedback, emails, customer or client recommendations and also any behavioural observations. Feedback should be encouraged via an email signature or directly asked for from any stakeholders to ensure that not only positive feedback is sought from stakeholders that may have had a successful interaction with. Encourage constructive feedback to be seen in a positive light to help the employee improve.
Rating should be no surprise
If regular discussions held, clear objectives set and evidence gathered there should be no surprise come the review at the end of the year. If an employee feels that they have shown evidence but they are being treated unfairly then you should have a referral process to the next step up in the hierarchy. Not all line managers are adept at dealing with delivering potentially bad news so ensure some form of guidance is provided and framework for discussion is in place. Not everyone will be happy with their rating but if discussed regularly then this upset can be minimised. Good managers can coach and manage staff to improve and use reviewing conversations as a way to motivate, a bad manager will demotivate staff.
Whilst reviews are used as an assessment against peers it can create healthy competition but by highlighting cooperative working as a good thing will ensure no negative effects of this competition. Also ensure that they are judged relative to their own experience, it may be easier for someone with five years experience than someone new into the role, however your objectives and expectations of the latter may not be as high as that of the experienced employee.