As you may know, multinational companies such as Adobe and Deloitte have already replaced Annual Performance Review by a more frequent and light-weighted "Check In" process, in order to meet the demand of their ever-changing market and retain young talented employees.

Recently, the success stody of "Check In" has gone public by Adobe.

To unveil the secret of "Check In", we will discuss some key questions in implementing frequent "Check In" from a local SME perspective:

1. People Feel Uncomfortable when Paper-work of Appraisal Disappears

There should be a transition period for any significant change. In the long run, "Check In" must be supported by automated HR system to facilitate putting the discussion between supervisor and subordinates into records, including feedbacks on current situation, future outlook and content of coaching.

If our staff member cannot immediately adapt to the "Check In" arrangement, we can, in the transition period, maintain a more tangible format of "annual appraisal" to supplement the frequent "Check In".

Meanwhile, expectation on "Check In" can be different among different departments. For sales persons and software programmer, you can arrange monthly or even weekly "Check In" to ensure feedbacks can be made to fit into the ever-changing work-in-progress. But if you are referring to the transportation team of your company, it will be weird to suddenly replace annual appraisal by weekly "Check In".

2. If Compensation Policy Remains the Same, Anything Else Is Meaningless

After adopting "Check In", department heads should understand more about performance and capability of their staff, and therefore should have greater ownership to determine the compensation package of their subordinates. However, some department heads may find it difficult to make decision on salary adjustment without the result of traditional Stack Ranking / Forced Ranking.

In fact, when company is preparing its business plan, HR leader should work out budget on bonus and compensation according to how each department contribute to the company. Ideally:

  • Department head should own the departmental HR budget.
  • HR Department may provide to department heads with recommended range of compensation according to company's tradition, average or quartiles salary of the industries or professions, etc.
  • Department head can allocation the compensation budget to individuals according to their performance and their importance to the business, and also making reference to recommendation by HR

3. How to Tell if "Check In" is Working?

Basically we can conduct survey to understand staff's morale and engagement. In particular, we can ask whether they perceive they now understand more about their duties, and whether they believe the company has improved in terms of fairness on compensation policy.

In terms of productivity, through continuous feedback, coaching and delegation, we expect improvement on "over-time" problem for certain mid-level staff due to taking-up too much minor tasks. On the other hand, the company should have more flexibility to improve employees' package in terms of annual leaves and working hours, instead of monetary terms.

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E-Appraisal is a latest automated performance review system. E-Appraisal starts with aligning company's, team's and employees' goals, then tracks progress of each individual's appraisal result and visualizes various statistics to enable efficient allocation of human resources. It also spares us from bothering with Excel and paper shuffle.