There are many performance appraisal methods out there, but let’s face it: few of them work. How do you have a frank and open conversation with employees when they know there is bag of money on the line? While it is very possible to establish an effective performance management process, many managers fall back on the proven-ineffective process of reserving the majority of candid feedback for an annual appraisal. Unfortunately, relying on a single performance appraisal every 365 days leaves employees demotivated, deflated, and surprised by any negative reviews.

Here are some methods to make your performance appraisals more effective. For starters, when speaking with employees, we generally don’t call these performance appraisals processes; we call them check ins:

1) Increase Frequency: We recommend check ins at least once per quarter, and it’s best to schedule check ins more often for new employees, employees transitioning to new roles, or for employees who are struggling.

2) Don’t Link It Directly to Pay: Here is a shift in philosophy. Instead of assuming your team is one large bell curve of performance, what if you assumed everyone in your organization was a high performer? Pay is a poor motivator anyway. Sure, it gets people to do something, but pay also decreases employee engagement level when it becomes too much of a focus.

3) Train Your Managers: Stop thinking of a performance appraisal as a form that can be filled out by anyone and start thing about it as an ongoing conversation between a highly trained manager and an employee. Managers need to be trained in how to lead and motivate employees. To that end, we offer management seminars in which your managers can learn how to strengthen their communication styles and more effectively hold people accountable.

Companies with effective performance appraisal processes see higher employee engagement and better accountability. Overhaul your process for a high performance culture.