Since I started working on my own, I can say without any hesitation that I DO NOT MISS DOING ANNUAL PERFORMANCE REVIEWS! Don’t misunderstand me, I think feedback is important. But the end of the year is extremely hectic anyway with holidays, kids’ events, end of the year push to meet deadlines and goals. And then on top of all of that, I have to remember what someone did 10 months ago? Nope, I don’t miss it at all! This week I want to explore how you can make performance reviews less painful, and meaningful.
The performance reviews that most companies I’ve seen have been ineffective. Annual reviews are slow. They don’t provide any actionable feedback. They may be written by someone not directly involved with the day to day work of the employee. Have you ever seen a GM or HR manager write reviews for the entire company? Plus, with so much going on this time of year, do you really have time to make the process meaningful? Probably not. It is not because you don’t want to, but because you can only dedicate so much time to it. Today I am going to suggest ways that you can improve the performance reviews and use it to develop talent and engage employees. Sound fair?
We’ve all heard the stereotypical fight between a couple where someone brings up something the other said three years ago. Well, it’s not fair in love and war, nor is it fair in a performance review. Feedback should be timely. Address issues when they happen. Encourage positive actions when they occur. Waiting until the end of the year to bring up feedback from earlier in the year does a disservice to you (the manager) and the employee. Many times, employees are willing to make changes, they just need help knowing what they need to improve. Do yourself and your team a favor and provide timely feedback. Productivity will improve.
The whole purpose of providing feedback is to change behaviors. You may want someone to perform better and change a non-productive habit. Or you might simply want to encourage productive behaviors. Either way the feedback you provide throughout the year will help develop the behaviors you want to see in your team members.
This is analogous to a new year’s resolution. On January 1, I’ll say that I want to lose 20 pounds. I may or may not change some behaviors, and I may or may not lose 20 pounds. But if I wait to step on the scale until December 31, I shouldn’t be shocked when I didn’t lose 20 pounds. If I want to lose 20 pounds, I need the feedback of looking at the scale on a regular basis.
But your company or HR department requires an annual review. Fine. It’s easy now, right? I mean you’ve been doing reviews on a regular basis (and documenting them). You can show how your team has improved over the year, and how they now have adopted the behaviors needed to be more productive, effective and efficient in their job functions.
Now the annual review is just a collection of the conversations and feedback you’ve been having the entire year. Sound simple right? I know you’re thinking, “Andrew, I don’t have time to do a review every week or even every month.” We’re not taking a long drawn out review. I am talking about a 5 to 10 minute conversation to provide feedback about performance. As a leader your job is to lead. How can you lead without giving feedback?
This Week’s Challenge
Are you still doing an annual performance review? Are you looking for ways to make it better and elevate performance? Contact us, we can help!
If you need help, or would like to learn more about how to retain your top performers, please reach out to me. I’ll be happy to help!