As you are aware, changing the corporate culture is an undertaking within itself and takes at least 18 to 36 months or more. Employees must be prepared to make that change. Performance appraisals cannot be used effectively in order to drive change in employee behavior. What structures and procedures do you have in place to prepare your employees and the organization for this culture change? Are you working with external consultants throughout this process? What discussions are you having with your employees regarding the changes you wish to make? What feedback are they giving you regarding their thoughts, their perceptions, and their needs throughout this process? Have affinity groups been established in order for "safe" conversations and discussions to occur? What leadership do you have in place to ensure that this transition will take place in a timely manner with few to no disruptions?
Food for thought: Behavior is never sustainably changed via the performance appraisal process. Behavior is sustainably and successfully changed based on the individual’s willingness to make a positive change and their ability to adapt to and embrace change; thus, their level of EQ. What occurs before, during and after the appraisal process is what you have stated “…..keeping order.” This behavior is both hierarchical and patriarchal; thus the corporate way. What happens is behavior is not changed; rather, creativity is stifled, morale, self efficacy, self esteem, loyalty, and a positive perception of organizational leadership are also diminished. Motivation and performance often improve. However, research shows that the improvement is not long-term for a majority of the employees being evaluated. Rather, fear-based behavior simultaneously occurs and trust is broken. Behavior can sustainably be improved by asking fundamental questions: What behavior(s) are you trying to change within the individual and why? How and to what extent is/are the behavior(s) impacting the individual, team, and organization? What are you prepared to do to help your employees make that positive change? In essence, what programs (i.e., one-on-one meetings, focus group discussions, training, coaching, counseling, seminars, courses, etc…) do you have in place to ensure that all employees are given the opportunity to be properly developed?
Firstly, it is imperative to choose the proper hiring managers who know how to successfully lead and interview others, and who know how to choose the right people for the right position at the right time. Often people who are placed in positions of leadership do not know how to properly lead or develop their subordinates. Secondly, it is imperative to continuously revisit whether or not the employee is being “positively” challenged and developed in the current position. It is imperative to ascertain whether creativity, autonomy and teamwork are allowed. It is quite possible that the employee has simply outgrown the position. Often employees are placed in the wrong positions and are victims of their own success; thus kept in the current role and not allowed to grow. They often fail through no fault of their own. Therefore, we must start at the beginning of the process by attracting, hiring, retaining and developing top talent and the “right talent” who fit the position and embrace the organizational culture. We must also be prepared to move employees into other positions when necessary instead of using the performance appraisal process as a quick fix for weeding out what is perceived as a “bad” employee. You may have a diamond in the rough and not be aware of it and you may ultimately lose a potentially outstanding asset.