Overcoming Employee Reluctance When Rolling Out Formal Performance Assessments

9 November 2020
5 minute
Overcoming Employee Reluctance When Rolling Out Formal Performance Assessments

Businesses face all sorts of challenges on a daily basis, but if there's one area where managers and employees can struggle, it's that of managing change - especially those who are critical to it being implemented within the organisation.

Resistance to change across the company can cause multiple issues, but today we are going to look at how you as a manager can overcome employee reluctance to change, and in particular, when rolling out performance assessments and feedback, an area which faces constant hurdles in business management.

When businesses mature, change is an inevitable part of the development process that takes place across the organisation. One of the biggest challenges is keeping established staff engaged, new staff motivated and developing a business model that is suitable for the business to survive.

Employees are the most fundamental part of the whole chain. A well engaged and motivated team can lead the business to greater success as they are bought into the process and can help the business transition into new ways of operating.

Losing employee engagement at any time is never a comfortable scenario for a business as it can lead to key members leaving and business performance taking a nosedive.

As a business matures, it is important to keep building employee engagement. One of the ways to improve engagement is by introducing performance assessments.

Evaluate employee resistance to change

Consider the times when you've implemented a change process within the business - what has been the result? Have you had pushback from employees and key stakeholders? Has it been met with a bit of disregard? Have your best intentions to change something which needed fixing fallen back to old ways?

Importantly, it's what you can learn about those experiences that make the biggest difference to implementing change within your business.

This is where you need to properly evaluate your employees resistance to change. You could do a quick assessment by looking at what happened the last time you tried something and make some constructive conclusions at this point. It could be that you get direct feedback by simply asking, “why didn’t it work?”

Roughly knowing where your employees fit into perceptiveness to change will direct you in managing future situations better - such as rolling performance assessments.

How do we get staff on board with performance appraisals?

Being able to get your staff on side for introducing new processes such as performance appraisals is going to be key to developing trust, improving employee engagement and building on business success. So what are the practical ways to get staff on board for setting up performance appraisals? Here are some suggestions.

1. Highlight the benefits to individuals

If staff understand that performance appraisals are designed to benefit them by giving professional feedback, assessing strengths and weaknesses and developing their skills then they will be a lot more receptive to the process.

Being able to create a professional feedback loop can help develop the employee and also provide a roadmap for pay increases or bonuses if they achieve what is set out in an assessment.

2. Highlight confidentiality

The feedback process can feel like it's a witch hunt if the point above isn’t communicated clearly. Being able to give and receive feedback is essential to making the process work. Communicating that it is being taken seriously and that all answers are confidential increases trust in the process.

Imagine if you felt that you couldn’t speak openly about issues? It would make you weary of the whole process.

3. Demonstrate that it need not be complicated

From concerns about it “taking too long” or “the process is difficult to understand” you can smooth the process by talking through how it works and delivering a solution that is designed to work with, not against individuals.

Something like the Thomas 360 degree assessment which provides assessments online and can be referred to regularly help with simplification and ease of use.

Reasons employees may dislike performance appraisals

There can be a myriad of reasons as to why many employees may dislike performance appraisals. The important bit to remember is that you need to understand what these motivating factors are to find ways to ease concerns so that you can get buy-in from your employees.

1. Previous poor experiences

It may be as simple as the employee having had poor previous experiences in other organisations. Ask how they could help the process work better for them, show them the new process you have in place and appease the fears of what it means to have a proper appraisal system in place.

2. The responsibility of doing the assessment

At its core, an assessment is a lot of responsibility for those doing and those managing. If someone feels that it is too much responsibility to provide feedback or feel it’s not their place, you need to chat with them and make them feel comfortable in the whole process. Whilst it is a responsibility, the greater weight is on management to ensure that they can help individuals achieve their goals and the organisation’s as well.

3. It can feel like a “gotcha”

Many employees worry that an assessment highlights weaknesses or worse, gives grounds to be fired if they don’t meet a certain standard. This is not what a performance assessment is designed to measure, it’s about looking at where someone needs support or could be using their skills in other areas of the business. Talk it out with them and provide regular feedback to ensure that there are no concerns in this area.

Rolling out formal performance assessments is part of a business' wider growth strategy. Change in any organisation can cause issues, but managed correctly and understanding how to minimise fears can show the positive contribution that change brings and only strengthens the need to move forwards.
To be able to continue to develop and grow as an organisation, being able to manage performance and assess where staff need help or are being underutilised is going to be key. These performance assessments allow businesses to help individuals and the business grow together, and highlight best practices to move the business forward.

Ensuring assessements are rolled out with employee buy-in and ease of use is key to success. Addressing fears and promoting why they are of benefit is best for all parties involved.

Increase employee engagement and enable change with Thomas

At Thomas we offer a range of assessments offering in depth and comparable people insights based on employee behaviour, aptitude and personality.

If you're looking to implement change in your business, our Engage survey is the perfect gauge of staff morale that allows you to establish the levels of engagement within your organisation and identify strategies and initiatives to enhance employee wellbeing, motivation and productivity.

Where performance appraisals are concerned, our 360 Degree Feedback assessment provides an objective framework for identifying performance gaps, developing self-awareness, confidence and motivation.

We also have a number of resources on organisational change and employee engagement that you may find helpful, including our Guide to Change Management which gives you all the information you need to execute a successful change process.

To learn more about how we can assist you in increasing employee engagement and enabling change in your organisation, please speak to one of our team.

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