Tis the season for the annual performance review processes for many, providing a timely opportunity to reflect on the benefits of an effective performance review process and what can be done to enhance the outcomes for all involved.
When conducted effectively, a performance review can be an engaging occasion for an employee, providing an opportunity for a meaningful conversation around a number of areas including performance, expectations and development.
When executed effectively, the employee and manager both leave the meeting with clear goals, an action list with commitment to delivery and enthusiasm for the future.
Employee engagement is, and will continue to be a key challenge not only for Human Resources practitioners but executives, business owners, supervisors and managers at all levels within an organisation. What is it that influences an employee’s decision to not only stay with an organisation, but to commit and perform to the best of their ability? What is it that motivates an employee to give that bit extra? To treat your business like their own? This commitment to ongoing alignment between organisational and employee goals underpins employee engagement and directly impacts the bottom line of any business. So how do we encourage employee engagement?
Some of the key contributors to engagement are providing employees with meaning in their work (contribution to business success and the bigger picture), challenges, meaningful relationships and opportunities for advancement. Not surprisingly, these are all outputs of a successful performance review process. Surprisingly, so many performance review programs are conducted ineffectively.
We’ve all experienced a less than motivating performance review, perhaps you‘ve experienced endless rescheduling of meetings, the ‘feedback sandwich’, promised development opportunities (a fantastic training course or opportunity to work on a new project) which never eventuate, or worse, the salary increase that falls through.
This process tends to make employees feel unmotivated, devalued and little more than a cog in the wheels. These performance reviews tend to be more harm than good and are unfortunately quite common, as we discuss in our blog Avoiding toxic performance reviews
An effective performance review process doesn’t need to be elaborate, complicated or time consuming to administer for managers. The best performance review processes facilitate a meaningful two-way conversation, are focused on working towards business goals and are simple and efficient to administer and follow up for managers.
With this in mind, we offer some practical tips for managers to ensure the performance review process delivers an engaging process for all concerned;
- Take the process seriously – This may require some education for managers and/or supervisors on the importance of, benefits and conversely the dangers of a poor process.
- Prioritise and commit – Actions speak louder than words. When a meeting is re-scheduled it suggests to employees that something else is more important, often this occurs more than once.
- Focus – These meetings should focus on the individual and their impact on, and experience within the organisation. Managers need to practice deep listening skills, facilitate two-way conversations and refrain from becoming side-tracked with operational discussions.
- Deliver honest feedback – Perhaps the most stressful aspect of a performance review process for managers and supervisors is delivering appropriate feedback, even when the news is excellent. Develop managers and/or supervisors to articulate, deliver and seek accurate feedback appropriately.
- Timing – Depending on the timing of the review (Annual, Quarterly etc.), all parties to the review process need to ensure an individual’s performance throughout the entire time period is accurately reviewed and discussed.
- Follow-up – It is essential that any promise or action item raised during the meeting is documented, committed to and followed-up soon after the meeting.
- Ongoing conversations – To truly engage your people and achieve the goals of the performance review process, these meaningful conversations should continue regularly. This does not need to be a formal process, rather a regular catch up to review the progress of action points and goals discussed during the performance review process.
To discuss your organisation’s performance review process, please contact deliberatepractice on 1300 deliberate (1300 335 423)