Make these performance management improvements to increase the strengths of your people and your bottom line too.
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Performance reviews are an essential tool for monitoring and improving employee progress, as well as providing support and guidance. However, traditional performance appraisal is clunky and out of date. These reviews are often a source of stress and anxiety for employees and typically don't provide the real-time feedback that many team members need to be very successful.
Because these reviews are often conducted annually, employees may work inefficiently for months only to be notified of the next performance review months later. The lag between the work being done and an annual or even semi-annual review can make it difficult for both employees and supervisors to get information correctly. There's a better way to make these reviews more effective for your company and your employees.
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Effective performance reviews are just a few changes away
Here's what you can do to improve performance management so that you can leverage your employees' strengths and increase bottom line too.
Hold reviews more often
Rather than doing employee performance reviews once or twice a year, adjust them to be weekly or monthly and a more informal event. Some entrepreneurs block a 15- or 30-minute space in their calendars every week and use this time to talk to employees. During these shorter sessions, employees can talk about anything they want. This approach has several advantages:
With a more informal approach, employees will feel encouraged to ask you questions so they don't get stuck in their workflow.
Employees can talk about what's going on at work and keep you updated on challenges you may not be aware of.
The performance appraisal is becoming more of a one-way street. Employees can ask for advice, constructive feedback, and anything else they need to do a good job (feeling “valued” from a formal review can prevent them from doing this).
These one-on-one meetings will help you develop a closer relationship with your co-workers, and they may be more comfortable talking to you now and in the future. Maybe they give a little feedback from the staff themselves.
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Do your check-in regularly
When employees speak face-to-face with their manager every week, the boss becomes less intimidating. The corporate culture begins to change and employee engagement increases. Team members feel more comfortable asking leaders what they need to do a good job, whether it is advice, support, or something else. You will ultimately feel more comfortable having meaningful conversations that explore individual performance, organizational goals, project metrics, and more. All of this is more difficult when spoken less often. A more regular, occasional review process can make performance discussions less daunting.
Make one of these shorter performance reviews a regular 30- to 60-minute meeting, and construct the conversation so that it is entirely based on the employee's performance. Your shorter weekly meetings already have some context. However, if you create this section every month or two it is a valuable check-in opportunity. Your coworker has had enough time to focus and do quality work, but you didn't let things run long enough that your coworker could potentially have led projects in the wrong direction for a long time.
During these sessions, ask effective questions like:
How do you set goals? What are you?
Which areas of improvement would you like to work on?
What achievement are you most proud of?
What are the obstacles in the way of your current work?
What can I do to help you do your job better?
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Adjust your approach
In addition to adjusting your annual performance review schedule, customize your approach to employee review as well. Try to see yourself more as a coach and less as an evaluator. Their goal is to help poor performers perform better, rather than pointing out shortcomings or just giving negative feedback. You want them to rate themselves regularly.
It can also be helpful to include peer feedback on each employee in the assessments, especially if your employee works as a member of a team and doesn't always interact directly with you as a manager. This peer feedback can draw your attention to an employee's responsibilities and strengths that you may not be aware of. Including peer feedback in weekly reviews is likely not practical, but could be a valuable addition to the evaluation process once or twice a year.
Give real-time feedback
While ratings are helpful, don't forget the importance of providing real-time feedback for positive work. Recognizing an employee's current performance can build their confidence and encourage them to work harder. This works even if the feedback is not received during a scheduled review meeting. In addition, this positive recognition can inspire other employees to improve their work ethic. Make a note of these achievements so that you can see their improvement in performance at the actual time of review.
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Take great strides over time
As you make these changes to the employee performance review process, the reviews will become more relaxed, stress-free, and provide faster feedback to improve effectiveness. They also get the continuous support they need to make solid contributions to your business, truly excel at their best, and make progress in their professional development over time.