Wrapping up 2018 and heading into 2019, it’s the perfect time to reflect on employee performance reviews. In Part I, we started our review of the performance review, and now we’re wrapping up our evaluation of evaluations!
#4: Stop dictating goals
This is the mothership. The kingpin of complaints against the paternalistic and outdated performance review: assigning goals without consulting the employee.
Only 30% of employees surveyed by Gallup strongly agree that their manager involves them in goal setting. The same report found that this 30% are 3.6x more likely to be engaged in their work and development compared to those with less-involved managers.
It comes back to making the performance review a conversation, not just an evaluation. Specific goals and targets – both personal and professional – should be developed and agreed upon by the employer and employee. Goal setting should also consider whether the expectations are fair given the time and resources available to the employee.
This cannot be decided without input from both sides. Goal setting is a natural time to discuss things like working hours, particular strengths and weaknesses, and level of engagement with work. It’s a golden opportunity for employees to give their own suggestions on the work or direction undertaken by their team.
So why do it?
Every one of your employees wants to contribute to goal-setting. It’s their career — their personal and professional development at stake — and they deserve an input. Opening up the discussion will make employees feel more valued and their opinions more appreciated. Not only that, but you’ll be able to select more realistic and useful goals with their input.
At the end of the day, that means better performance for your team and the business overall.
#5: Offer to invest in shortcomings
Historically, the performance review has been a tick box exercise where flaws were highlighted and punished with an ‘out of five’ score. Most staff find them uncomfortable and the reviewee is always on the defensive.
Clearly that’s an issue.
Any performance review worth its salt will bring some weaknesses – personal or technical – to the fore. This is an essential part of the process. The issue is how to handle it. Some companies track poor performance in order to build an ‘airtight case’ to support an employee’s dismissal. Not only is that short-sighted from the company’s perspective, but it’s disastrous for the mental wellbeing of the employee: they are struggling with some skills in the job, and have no platform for improving them.
During your performance conversation, you should take the time to discuss any shortcomings, weaker skills, or areas where you and the employee think they could improve. You can then suggest training courses and opportunities to address these skill gaps.
So why do it?
Employees will be reassured by your commitment to helping them. By making these offers to employees, you help motivate them to improve and at the end of the day, you’re moulding a more valuable team member.
Throughout your review, just remember it’s about the next 12 months just as much as the previous year.
#6: Ask the right questions
Every performance evaluation revolves around answering questions. A great employee performance evaluation survey is designed with questions which enable managers to provide actionable feedback on specific aspects of employees’ work, including areas for improvement, additional training needs, areas of exceptional performance, and expectations of future performance.
Continuous feedback is pivotal for professional growth and the most useful feedback is derived from asking the most relevant questions. The most effective surveys will examine performance areas like productivity, adaptability and decision making as well as personal strengths and weaknesses.
Asking questions goes both ways, however: during the review it’s imperative that the employee is given full scope to ask their own questions and voice their own concerns. We recommend booking out a long slot in a private meeting room so that time is not a factor that cramps critical conversations.
So why do it?
Feedback is only as good as the questions which generate it. From the employer’s side, you need to make sure your surveys:
- Get the most valuable information from the employee
- Promote actionable discussions
- Address all relevant personal and professional areas
Most simply, asking the right questions means getting the best results.
The performance review is not dead, and we don’t think it should be.
A well-executed performance review brings numerous benefits to both the company and the employee. The employees know how to be more effective; they’re motivated to improve and armed with the development ideas to make it happen. They know the company cares about their development and is willing to invest in addressing skill gaps to help them reach their goals.
All of this offers strong motivation and a morale boost for employees, and that means better productivity for the business.
Did you know roughly 50% of employees say their leader rarely or never takes an active role in helping them to grow and develop? It’s not a coincidence that in America, the proportion of workers leaving their jobs voluntarily is at a 17-year high.
If you want to keep your employees, you have to start helping them.
Ready to take action? Check out employee performance review survey templates in our employee sample survey bank, or chat with one of our team members about how we can help you improve employee experience.