“The key to achieving the best result is through motivated employees,” Anonymous.
It’s no secret that most employees dread the evaluation process; they look at this annual review with annoyance, angst, and anger. There’s nothing productive to look forward to, just an hour or two of talk, and no feedback on how they can grow.
Managers don’t like the evaluations either. There’s so much that they need to put into the process, and in return, they get so much less engagement from the employee’s side.
But as much as it’s hard, vague, time-consuming and all other wrong reasons, the performance review process should not be scrapped. There’s room for improvement – reviews are an opportunity for leaders to align and lead their team in a powerful way. They can serve as the connection between employee and leader, and help to align the team with business goals and fuel employee growth.
The question then becomes, how can leaders make employee performance review something of value for the company and employees? We believe that an open employee review process can unlock employee performance and productivity. Have a look at how you can achieve this.
Assess both successes and opportunities
Performance review process needs preparation; so, you’ll need to spare some time to have everything ready. While reviewing employee performance, you should:
- Look at the outcome: analyze whether the employee in question attained their goal or not. You can also look at their tangible metrics.
- Pinpoint the actions: identify the actions that you would want them to repeat – like the things they did well to achieve their goals, the impact of their actions, and so on. You should point out specific examples.
- Recognize the opportunities: name the areas where you think the employee would have done better. Also look at the impact, as well as the potential outcome that could result from them adapting to the opportunities.
Don’t just prepare the review in your head. Write down examples and notes, and use them during the meeting. Dedicating your time into this and giving a thoughtful feedback will help show your team that you care about their growth. You can even take it a notch higher and ask your employees to identify their successes and opportunities so that you can share the results in the meeting.
Give your feedback
Once you have the review ready, the next thing is to hold the conversation with your employees. The best way to go about this is to listen and ask for clarification whenever necessary, before giving your feedback. In fact, you should stick to the four A’s rule: Ask, Add, Agree, Align.
- Ask: you should, first of all, ask a question, then listen to the response. What do you think about your performance this past year? Listen. What were your achievements? Listen. What were the challenges? Listen. And what lessons did you learn from all this? Listen.
- Add: once you have all your questions answered, you can now issue your feedback. Be sure to highlight the actions that they did well and also mention the areas that you believe they can do better. While giving your feedback, you should always use specific examples to help drive each point home.
- Agree: this should be two-way, meaning, both you and the employees should consent to the assessment – it’s also a chance for either party to add anything else that is worth mentioning.
- Align: After issuing your feedback, and discussing the strength, weakness, and opportunities, it’s time to forge ahead. It’s a perfect chance to set new targets according to the objectives of the company, and the growth areas for the employees.
When aligning the new goals, it is essential to mention the areas where you want the employee to focus their energy on for the next quarter. You should also pay attention to the areas where the employee wants to develop and grow as an individual with regards to the business objectives. To ensure your goals are clear and achievable, each one should be SMART
Specific (sensible, simple, significant)
Measurable (motivating, meaningful)
Achievable (attainable, agreed)
Relevant (realistic and resourced, reasonable, result-based)
Time-bound (time-limited, time-based, time-sensitive, timely, time/cost limited)
Follow up and follow through
This is where many managers fail to achieve the intended results; so be careful not to follow suit. It is futile to take weeks to prepare for the review, and hours of the meeting and fail to follow up. For easy follow up, you can take these actions:
- Send follow up email: send the summary of what you guys discussed and the goals that you set. Request for the employee to go through it and confirm. Follow up on review is a great way to ensure that both parties heard the same thing in the meeting.
- Follow-through on action: do monthly reviews on how everything is fairing on. Find out what’s working and what’s not, as well as the challenges and how you can offer a helping hand.
When handled correctly, the performance review process will not only engage the employees but will also bring about more clarity and in the end, make your leadership role much easier.