When it comes to managing employee performance, many companies miss the mark. And here’s why: Performance management means more than conducting reviews with employees once or twice a year.
If you only provide feedback at review time – sitting across a desk and going point by point through a rigid appraisal form – you’re overlooking many valuable opportunities to mentor, support and guide your employees.
For more relevant, results-driven performance management, you should:
1) Provide regular and immediate feedback year-round. To help employees learn from their mistakes and overcome their challenges, you need to share feedback that’s specific and timely. If you’re plugged into what your employees are doing day to day, and have worked to maintain an “open door” policy with them, confronting them with constructive criticism will be easier.
2) Set the right foundation at the beginning of the year. Create some structure around your expectations for the position and what a positive, productive year should look like. With the employee’s input, take the time to determine a handful of objective, measurable goals. Strive for goals that are challenging, but at the same time attainable.
3) Keep track of daily performance. A performance log lets you jot down notes about an employee’s good or bad behavior, as you observe it or hear about it. This information can be a handy reference for weekly or monthly discussions and certainly, a much more reliable resource at review time than your memory!
=> => OK, you’re keeping the lines of communication open with your employees and providing thoughtful feedback on a regular basis. But like most companies, you also need to complete a written appraisal and conduct a formal, one-on-one review. Here’s how to make the most of it:
4) Be prepared. This should be obvious, but make sure you’ve thought through what you’re going to say, and how you’re going to say it, before sitting down with the employee. Whether you use a standard performance appraisal form or some other written format for rating key performance factors, you still need to talk through the contents and fill in additional details.
5) Lead with the positive. Performance reviews can be as anxiety-inducing for the employee as they are for the manager or supervisor. Reinforce the employee’s strengths (with specific examples, of course) at the beginning of the review to set a positive tone and help put the employee at ease.
6) Make it a two-way conversation. An effective performance review is not a one-sided monologue by a manager. Rather, it should be an open exchange that allows employees to voice their concerns and offer new ideas. Creating this dynamic will help employees feel you value their opinions, which goes a long way toward increasing employee engagement and morale.
7) Focus on what matters to the employee. Job satisfaction plays a huge role in an employee’s attitude and performance. Just as no two employees are exactly alike, there’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach to reviews. An effective review should explore the issues that matter most to the employee, whether that means accepting new challenges, working on teams, taking on more responsibility or receiving additional training. If you know what makes an employee “tick”, you can tie more of those motivators into his or her goals and objectives.