For the last post of the month I took this topic to the street and received feedback from many of my colleagues that manage a team of employees. I found that managers are a divided group when it comes to the performance review.
Several managers think the annual performance review should be tossed out with yesterday’s trash. Others feel the performance review should be kept BUT modified greatly. Most believe they are a good thing and a lot of them feel strongly that performance discussions should take place daily or weekly – NOT just yearly.
Communication between a manager and their employees should take place constantly. Constant communication and feedback allows the employee to make adjustments in performance quickly which most of the time are minor. As one manager said, “We all know when we “mailed it in” or didn’t give it our best efforts. Daily communication helps us critique our own performances.” Managers overwhelmingly believe that if you don’t take this approach your employees feel as if you are “storing up” all the things they did wrong just to slam them with it at the end of the year.
Managers believe their people want to do a good job and feel as a manager it is their responsibility to give their employees the tools with which to achieve it. Then it’s up to the employee to take the tools and deliver the performance.
Performance discussions are best done one on one – not several managers or executives grilling a single employee. One manger recalls their first review with a company after six months. He sat in a room facing a semi-circular cast of superiors, each asking questions like he was being tested; awkward to say the least and intimidating for a relatively new employee. (Note: if you would like to keep the employees you have hired then I don’t recommend this type of review system)
Overall the consensus is to keep the performance review system but modify it greatly. Have performance conversations with your employees daily or weekly and then visit overall performance goals quarterly. I can assure you that this type of system will make the end of the year review process move along more smoothly and your employees will feel as though they are being supported not as if you are looking for ways to criticize them.