Do you know how well you are doing at your job? Throughout my career I have had several different managers with a different idea on feedback, career paths, and performance reviews. Speaking of performance reviews there are several different methods and some are better than others. I believe the performance review should be simple and nothing should be a surprise (my blog, my rules). Let’s be clear, reviews should be a conversation, not a confrontation. First and foremost the idea of a performance review puts the employee on edge and raises their stress levels. Think about some ways to reduce the stress. One way would be to stop having them altogether and some organizations are moving away from the old-fashioned annual review. A good alternative to an annual performance review is to structure informal discussions throughout the year. This structure reduces stress and the employee is not blindsided at the end of the year. Here’s another good tip, have the employees schedule their time with their manager. This will reduce stress by helping the employee feel empowered due to the employee becoming the meeting organizer instead of the manager. Subtle but effective. Let’s dive in on the individuals.
There are several things that could go wrong with performance reviews. Lack of data, insecurities, stress, fear, and behavior are all things that contribute to a bad experience. Each participant should be prepared. I will begin with the boss. Managers should be ready to listen more and provide constructive feedback. Let’s face it, as a boss you are a mentor, use those skills. They should provide feedback to their employees regularly and provide correction. The manager should think about the employee holistically by thinking about their strengths and their weaknesses. For instance, if an employee’s priority is to sale products and they are killing it, this should be recognized. But if the same employee is not doing a good job at entering data into the CRM, this should also be recognized and solutions should be offered. If the employee takes the advice and corrects the data entry issues, this employee will be the bees-nees in the organization moving forward.
If an employee is not performing well the annual performance review is more than likely too late to provide feedback or correction. Issues should be identified quickly and plans should be structured to correct the issues along with a deadline. You could use the annual review to discuss how the correction plan is going and provide additional feedback if necessary. Another good tip is for leaders to get feedback from other members of the organization that interact with their teams on a regular basis. This will provide the leader with information regarding behaviors (either positive or negative). Everyone is on their best behavior when the boss is around. It’s good to know how the team interacts when the boss is not around. All of these factors should be compiled and discussed during the review from the boss’s side.
Discussions with the boss should never be one-sided. The employee should be prepared to discuss how they performed and this is a good time to discuss career goals. Use this time wisely and get instant feedback and guidance from each other. The performance review is a great time to bring in the projects that you have completed throughout the year and give your manager a quick peek into how the sausage was made (a saying that I use to reference processes and tactics used to complete a job). You are your best advocate and your manager may not even understand how you complete your projects. Some great tools were discussed in a blog I wrote about promoting yourself (This Woman’s Work). Here’s the thing, during most reviews the manager does all of the talking. Did you ever think that during your review it’s a good time to give your manager some feedback? Well it is, again this is not a confrontation and most leaders need to hear about the day-to-day activities so that they can adjust processes or responsibilities. Managers need guidance too and getting information from the “worker bees” is an excellent way to keep their finger on the pulse of morale and if new ideas and/or processes are working. Don’t be afraid you can provide guidance to leaders, remember they hired you for a reason (you is smart, you is kind, you is important).
In a perfect world we would all communicate with each other with confidence and civility. When things are wrong we will work together to correct them. Lastly people will get credit when credit is due and promotions and raises will come naturally and fairly. But who am I kidding, this is not a perfect world and we need tools in place to keep the playing field even. Just remember to communicate on a regular basis, provide feedback, and guidance to correct issues. Sprinkle in some good ole’ fashioned manners and we will be cooking with gas LOL. Have a good one.