by Tom Crea
When you think of employee performance evaluations, what is your first reaction?
Many shudder at the thought; supervisors dread writing the report and employees feel anxiety over potential surprises in their annual review.
Why do so many managers fail to take advantage of the opportunities present?
Change Your Message
Supervisors want to get the job done and employees want to get a good review, so why not satisfy both? Instead of providing feedback only when required on an annual basis, consider implementing a habitual program that reinforces success and minimizes failure.
Leaders take advantage of the formal evaluation process and use it to train and mentor their team. Positive results occur when management and staff work together to improve performance and achieve goals.
Setting and Achieving Goals
In addition to the formal, employee performance review, establish a contract with your staff to meet regularly throughout the year. For instance, schedule semi-formal quarterly previews and commit to unscheduled meetings to occur a minimum of once each week.
During the quarterly preview, do the evaluation in “pencil” so that both parties get a clear indication of what will occur during the formal review if nothing changes. These are less stressful and they ensure that there are no surprises later.
More important, quarterly previews allow both parties to be more open in the discussion and this usually reveals whether the manager and employee are in synch. If not, this is a perfect time to clarify differences so that you depart the meeting with a common understanding about goals and expectations going forward.
During the unscheduled weekly meetings, leaders use impromptu opportunities to coach and mentor their team. Here, feedback enables employees to confirm that they are doing things correctly while providing the leader an opportunity to coach in those areas that need improvement.
Make it Win-Win
Managing and leading are different. The idea is to set your team up for success and help them succeed; you can do this by coaching and mentoring your staff on a regular basis.
Ensure you provide feedback regularly, and make the annual performance evaluation a much more positive and rewarding experience. Employees will appreciate your concern for their growth and development, and management will be satisfied by the accomplishments of your team.
Ultimately, leaders who take the time to mentor staff on a regular basis get the most from their team and they experience the least amount of collective anxiety during the annual employee performance reviews.