How automation and Jira can improve your appraisal system
This fiscal year, we introduced a new appraisal system using Jira to replace our old, paper-based one.
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The new workflow relies on Jira and ScriptRunner to create a seamless and collaborative experience, which managers, employees, and our Human Resource (HR) team update consistently throughout the year.
Out with the old
Our previous system was comprised of a template in a Word or paper-based forms that team members filled in October and then updated their progress with their manager the following September. This form captured the employees objectives for the year ahead, and details of what training was needed to accomplish those objectives.
“It was confusing because it was not a form that you could complete in one sitting. You had to start it, wait, update it, eventually, you’d finish it, and you would then use that to review back on the past year. It wasn’t a straightforward thing to do,” says Neil Penny, Learning and Development Consultant (L&D) at Adaptavist.
As well as being unclear for the user, the old system was also difficult to keep track of. Neil and the HR team had to track down each form for each employee, then go through them line by line in order to do any kind of reporting on employee development or needs.
“One of the functions of HR is our ability to report to the executives and say, “This is happening, this is being done and we’re seeing progress on that, as well,” says Neil, although he stresses that the aim of the appraisals is not just tracking and reporting, but creating year round conversations between team members and their managers about their performance, development, and needs.
In with the new
The system provides every employee with a Jira epic in which there is an issue that covers the appraisal window. In this issue, employees have competencies that relate to their role and grade. This allows them (with their manager’s support) to understand their current strengths and development areas in relation to their role to help them improve and grow. After this, the employee and manager can create objectives for the year ahead and a development plan, if needed, as an issue inside their epic. Everything, can (and should) be updated throughout the year so that continuous year round conversations and development occur to see progress for the next year’s appraisals.
The HR and L&D team have visibility of the companies entire org chart, allowing them to monitor progress and report back to executives. This creates a single source of truth at every level of our staff’s abilities and developments.
“Anything that you need or want to do from a learning perspective can be captured in there,” Neil says, “it has all the same elements that were on the paper-based form but it’s simplified the process and makes it into an easier timeline for people to understand and navigate in a more interactive way.”
How ScriptRunner helped
Our developers powered up the new Jira appraisal system even further by using ScriptRunner to automate creating new issues and buttons. The interface which allows users to view the company org chart was also entirely built using ScriptRunner. Below, you can see the heirachy chart we built using ScriptRunner:
These features make the system more time efficient and means any staff member can successfully navigate their epic, regardless of their technical proficiency. The org chart also massively improved our security and privacy features, as well as limiting the interface so that interactions are restricted by what issues can be created.
Proof is in the pudding
How much of a difference can switching from a paper-based system to Jira really make? A lot, according to Neil.
“Since we put such a focus into trying to improve this process, I’m seeing that the quality of the content has greatly improved,” he says.
“This increase in usage and the data being captured in the system tells me that we’re having better conversations between employees and managers, which is fantastic.”
It also helps the HR and L&D team save time during appraisal season; “Previously, I had to go through it line-by-line, one-by-one, understand the paper forms. Now, I just go to my dashboard. My dashboard gives me a nice graph that shows me what’s completed, what’s not, what’s missing. Then I download a report, done.”
The greater visibility and improved ability to track everyone’s progress also means the team can now more effectively implement the support and training needed to for everyone to complete their objectives; leading to more capable and fulfilled employees.
Want to know how you can improve your appraisal system for a better employee experience? We can help.