Performance review or development opportunity?
Talented and dedicated employees are among the most valuable assets of any business. If you have been following our previous blog posts and implementing some of our hints, we hope you have managed to hire some great people, so now let’s look at how to incentivise, steer, reward and retain these employees as they grow into your business.
While traditional performance reviews have a bad reputation for both employers and employees, leading organisations have moulded performance reviews into an ongoing strategy that ensures staff are productive, happy, engaged and supported to grow. Fast becoming a critical component of many companies’ performance management strategies, the best performance reviews are two-way conversations between a manager and an employee about performance impact, development, and growth. Many organisations have also renamed their performance review processes to break the stigma around these, for instance here at My Pathway we have a “My check-in” process.
Despite possibly having a new name, this can still be a stressful process, some managers find it hard to give what they believe is negative feedback, and it can be even harder for an employee to receive, but they are an ideal opportunity to develop trust, connection and loyalty to your organisation if handled correctly. This is especially true if conversations can break from a negative vetting of the past and move towards a future-focussed examination of upcoming work, possible challenges and opportunities. With this in mind, we have compiled these hints to help shape your next review process.
An annual review is not adequate to keep up with all the changes within an organisation, let alone for any employee. Regular reviews will allow managers and employees to stay on the same page about goals, progress, and performance as well as abreast of changes within the company. More regular reviews will also help both managers and employees to track and achieve agreed deliverables. At a minimum, consider conducting reviews quarterly, if not monthly or fortnightly. This may seem like a large commitment, but remember, if the conversations are more frequent, they do not need to be as long or as robust.
Not only should performance conversations happen more frequently, but they should also be more engaging. Managers and employees should equally contribute to a two-way conversation, and employees can also be expected to invest in preparation for reviews.
While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for all performance discussions, every conversation should promote trust, reduce anxiety, create clarity, and showcase alignment between the employee and their organisation. And these conversations don’t have to be just about performance. They might also cover:
• Career growth and development, including new opportunities
• Engagement challenges
• Alignment to organisational goals
• Changes or key messages from senior leadership
• Peer feedback
• Customer feedback
The best performance reviews focus mostly on the future, both for the company and the employee. It’s good to reflect on the past and to learn from it, but managers and employees should also spend time looking forward. How can your employees become more valuable members of the team? You may discuss professional development including training or mentoring opportunities, reworking key performance metrics and measures, possible incentives and even just work/life balance and mental health. Keep in mind that professional development may include a large range of activities including structured learning, staff-led learning, trial role placements, mentoring or even team building. Look for inventive ways to support your workforce to develop new skills and capabilities that benefit both the employee and your business. Employees will likely feel rewarded by the recognition of their hard work, and heartened by investment in their future and development, leading to increased loyalty and satisfaction.
By compiling the actions and feedback from across your employees, managers may be able to develop strategies that are aimed at improving employee experiences and satisfaction levels across the business.
Every performance review should result in defined steps for both the employee and the manager to undertake to facilitate performance, support and growth. It is important to have recorded agreed timeframes for these actions to be completed, mapping the progress towards your next review. You can download our Performance review template to help shape your process.
It is important to note most employees will need continued support to achieve the goals you’ve created together. Keeping the conversation going and maintaining an open-door policy will ensure your employees feel supported and set up for success.
We hope this has given you some ideas to implement or refine your review process and the reasons behind why you should be considering this.
When implemented correctly, performance reviews can engage and motivate employees to maximise and align their efforts which will in-turn improve your businesses’ culture and performance.
If you would like any assistance finding the right employee for your business, a My Pathway recruiter can help. Contact us today.
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