The end of the calendar year is just around the corner, and for most workplaces, this is the season of the performance review. Employees and employers everywhere are gearing up for some awkward conversations, and employers (surprisingly) may be losing more sleep over these looming conversations than their direct reports.
The truth: Nobody enjoys this process. But what if you could avoid some of the negative consequences without giving up the necessary benefits that performance evaluations provide? What if you could reinvent your performance reviews and reshape the entire process to meet your needs? Consider these changes.
Imagine the endgame.
When your employees walk out the door after the review is over, how do you want them to feel? Employees who scuttle out like scolded cocker spaniels are probably not going to charge back to their desks with energy and engagement. More likely, they may be thinking about their families, their financial futures, and potentially launching a search for another job. Employees who are praised to the heavens are also not going to rush out and start making changes. Praise and acknowledgement are great, but you’re free to deliver good news and positive feedback every day of the year (and if it’s warranted, you should). Today, begin the review process with the end in mind. Be realistic.
If your employee walks in the door with no idea what “grade” he’ll receive, you’ve already fumbled this process. Feedback should be delivered all year long in a way that’s honest, constant, and low key. By the time review season comes around, employees should know exactly what to expect and this meeting should simply formalize a conversation they’ve already had a hundred times. Never notice an employee mistake and then wait six months to attack her with it during a formal review. This move does nothing to correct to the mistake or place the employee on the right track. At the same time, a high performing employee should not have to wait for an entire year before being told that she’s doing well.
Turn feedback into action and do so right away.
Your employee is impressing you at every turn: great! Your employee is struggling and disappointing you at every turn: not so great. In both cases, the emotional response you elicit from the employee will mean nothing to the company unless this response can be translated into action immediately. Make sure your A and B grade employees know exactly how to leverage their success. Consider pushing them to take on additional leadership roles or pursue a promotion to the next level. Your C and D grade employees should be told exactly how to improve their numbers. Your F employees should be told exactly how to avert a looming termination.
For more on how to keep your reviews positive, diplomatic, and actionable, reach out to the staffing team at Expert Staffing.