For most employees, the annual or 6-monthly review is accepted as the norm. They fully expect to sit down in an awkwardly quiet little room with their line manager (who they may or may not ‘gel’ with) and re-hash last year’s Performance Review Form.
While this same format may be used in all departments across the board, with the same form and the same over-arching company objectives being spouted to all managers, reviews like this are rarely anything other than a subjective and sometimes demoralising process for employees which can lead to real-life monetary penalties.
So why not be different?
Same Employees + Different Managers = Different Outcomes
At the end of the day, we’re all human. Managers will likely get on brilliantly with most of their reports but will simply sustain a working relationship with others- not everyone that’s thrown together in the work environment will be best buddies or lifelong friends. And, as we’re all subject to human nature, this may very well be playing a part in the outcomes of supposedly objective performance reviews- whether intentionally or not.
Personal preferences aside, managers will also be bringing their own business objectives and perceptions to the table (again, unconsciously or otherwise). Hitting targets might be one manager’s main objective, while another will focus on bringing in new business and another will be focussed on work ethics- making the whole process extremely suggestive and subjective.
Not too much fun for the majority of employees who, having worked hard all year, may find themselves missing the mark in their current manager’s eyes and feeling the price- literally.
So, what’s the alternative?
There are several different ways to modernise your performance review procedure while also ensuring that the conclusions reached are far more accurate and objective.
We’ve outlined some changes you could implement in a day as well as some of the ways we may be able to help through our services and training programs below:
There is no quicker way to improve communication and speed up performance improvement than encouraging a culture of giving instant feedback.
Holding on to issues you spot in the workplace until the next bi-annual or even annual review is pointless. The detail will be lost, a tiny issue will have turned into a serious gripe, and whoever the feedback is intended for will likely have no idea what you’re referring to or how to improve in the area.
Instead, by instantly feeding back any concerns to the employee, it affords them the opportunity to resolve the issue there and then- allowing them to move forward immediately. This makes for a much less antagonistic approach to giving feedback and can improve communication in all directions.
The power of informal monthly or fortnightly one-to-ones is not to be underestimated. The value gained by taking just ten minutes out of the working day to check in with an employee on a regular basis is immeasurable.
Employees feel more valued, the informality of the meetings leads to far more open discussion and the regularity means that any growing issues can be nipped in the bud. One-to-ones also encourage a positive relationship between managers and their reports as it gives them a chance to connect as people rather than in a potentially stressful ‘review’ environment.
These either formal or informal meetings should be held on a regular basis with a focus on discussing any issues and celebrating any successes. They are a great opportunity to check in on the employee’s progress toward any goals or objectives set out in their formal review, helping them keep on the right path.
Without continuous feedback, targets can easily fall by the wayside during the course of 6 months or a year and the detail can become blurry. In fact, so much can change in a year that sometimes, objectives set in January can be null and void by September- these meetings give managers and their reports the time to adjust course.
We can help with this via our Calibration service; where we facilitate round table discussions about the performance of employees and enable managers to come to agreed conclusions regarding their performance rating and any monetary awards based on that rating.
Put simply, calibration meetings allow discussion about the individual performance of team members with the goal of making sure that all managers apply similar standards, across all employees. The process also helps to ensure that, no matter whom they report to, all employees are evaluated against the same criteria and that there is an agreed performance rating system in place.
With aligned calibration, potentially difficult conversations become more objective; leading to more positive and impactful conclusions.
We’re so proud of our 360 Feedback Program and the effects it has had on the businesses we work with.
In a nutshell, rather than having one person determine how well someone has performed, 360 Feedback relies on the perspective of everyone the employee works and interacts with; from their manager to their peers to people they have dealt with in other departments. It also includes the employee’s own view of their performance, creating a two-way conversation rather than the traditional review scenario.
The program provides a more objective and complete view of an employee’s overall performance, which, once understood, can lead to far more effective training, coaching
What else can we do to help?
We also offer some amazing training courses that would be incredibly beneficial in this area. They include: