10 Tips to Handle Difficult Appraisal Conversations

10 Tips to Handle Difficult Appraisal Conversations

In this we will be discussing what are the ways managers use to tackle difficult conversations during performance appraisal meetings.

Annoying silences, problematic arguments, and embarrassing situations can make performance appraisal meetings frightful. Due to budget constraints, it is not easy for a manager to justify salary hikes for top performer or to convince moderate-poor performers that there would be no hike. With increase in job leaping, dissatisfaction among employees also increased, it is becoming crucial for managers to handle these uncomfortable and difficult conversations in mature and thoughtful manner. Managers entering performance appraisal room without knowing how to deal with the uneasy feedback is not a good idea.

Below are the few tips that help managers to handle difficult conversations in a tactful and seasonable way:

1. Managers should do background homework: Every employee is different in the way they react to the situations. As a manager you must know employee needs and goals through continuous feedback approach. Continuous interactions will make managers understand employees well and present themselves better in the discussion to convey the message with less damage.

2. A BeanBag approach: It does not mean that we should provide beanbags to the employees. What actually it means is manager should provide the ease and comfort of a bean bag to their employees. For example, meeting for a cup of coffee and dining out will create that friendly atmosphere between managers and employees.

3. Begin the meeting on a lighter note: Best practice is to build the conversation on a lighter and positive tone. This will develop a comfort level for the employee to speak so that he-she will be able to share feedback or concerns openly.

4. Use the appropriate tone: Performance appraisal meetings will go through ups-downs; maintain the appropriate tone for the entire conversation. Be empathetic and observe your tone. Do not get make the other person nervous and try to think from employee perspective as well.

5. Behave like a friend without deviating from agenda of the meeting: Choosing a friendly approach will make things to handle in an easy way. Be as a good friend with the employees, understand from their perspective and be empathic. Conduct meetings which look like a healthy discussion rather than unpleasant formal meeting. Manager should be smart enough to focus on the real agenda in mind, present it carefully. There is thin line of difference between being friendly and not being taken seriously.

6. Listen patiently: Meetings shouldn’t be like feedback sessions, portray your points and patiently listen to other side of the coin. To make meeting meaningful conversation it is very important to be open to suggestions which employee shares. Listening to the employee will help you understand the true story and helps you take unbiased and balanced decision. This will reduce the frustration levels of the agitated employee.

7. Always have few non-monetary benefits in mind, to compensate for monetary benefits:

With limited budget at hand, it can sometimes become difficult to provide monetary benefits. So having few non-monetary benefits in mind is a good idea. This can be done when you aware about employee motivations apart from monetary benefits. For instance, he-she looking for new role or maybe he-she want work from home option or is looking for flexible timings.

8. Be ready for an emotional outburst: Everyone will not take bad news in the same way. Some people break down easily on hearing unexpected things. In those cases, help them to digest the news by being empathetic and supportive. Try to refresh their mood by highlighting the brighter side of the situation.

9. Be open to negotiate: Being rigid during appraisal meetings is not a good idea. Definitely due to budget constraints, giving increments will be little pinching but be open to the negotiations for exceptionally good performers. Because, any organization don’t want to lose their most performing employee for small negotiable amount.

10. End the conversation on a good note: Remember to high the positives at the end of the conversations, because it’s essential that you and the employee should leave the room on a satisfactory note.


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