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Dentists and the workplace appraisals

With a mouthful of clinical implements in my mouth, it suddenly dawned on me just how similar trips to the dentist and workplace appraisals are. I know that might sound a bit of a strange thing to say but I’ve had to endure a reasonably higher than average number of dental appointments in the last year – mostly preventative work – and here are some examples of how I came to that conclusion:

  • very few people enjoy participating in either of them
  • they usually don’t happen as often as they should
  • both cost* more than you planned for
  • they can both be quite painful
  • you are rarely the one in control
  • you are often not as prepared as you should be


But aren’t they good for us?

We all know that a visit to the dentist and workplace appraisals are supposed to be good for us. That doesn’t stop some people from being terrified or anxious about what will happen. We ask ourselves if the other person really has our best interests at heart. I have been fortunate enough to be able to say my last five line managers (as well as my last 4 dentists for that matter) have really pushed and supported me.

The main thing I noticed that was different was almost daily or at the very least weekly feedback from at least two of my line managers. As we had a constant feedback loop, they knew exactly what I was working on and the progress made; I could tailor to my efforts to reflect their changing priorities; and I was reassured that not only was I completing tasks, it was to a usually high standard.


A little extra effort works wonders

Putting that little bit of extra effort in by flossing as well as brushing, has really done wonders with my gums over the last 12 months. Much like going back to university whilst holding down a full time job. This helped me get into the career path I wanted, fully supported by my supervisor at the time.

By us both putting in that little bit of extra work, there was no need to wait 6 months or even 2 months to the next annual appraisal to see what progress I had made. Equally those rare occasions where I was completely doing the wrong thing were highlighted a lot quicker. We simply talked about it as it happened.

A continuous loop of completing work, feedback being given and any changes or tweaks getting made is in my opinion key to getting the best of your staff. Whether you change your workplace appraisals by going from annual to 6 monthly, to monthly feedback or go straight ahead and replacing formal appraisals altogether, reducing the time between giving feedback to you staff should be the goal.

A recent article from CIPD discusses how companies like Expedia and Accenture are ditching the annual process altogether, opting for a continuous feedback model (or as I called it above, reducing the feedback loop).


Going overboard a few days before the appointment

Flossing, brushing or scraping vigorously a couple of days before the dentist appointment doesn’t hide the inevitable cavities. Neither does bringing examples of work from the last few days, last week or even last month to an annual appraisal. Neither of you are going to remember good or bad examples of work or behaviour from 10 months ago. For these two types of appointments at least, last minute cramming doesn’t really reap huge benefits.

This is another compelling reason to increase how often ‘appraisals’ are completed or at the very least, increase how often regular feedback is given.

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