Performance management discussions can be filled with emotion and tension, even in the best situations. It’s no wonder that most leaders only hold them once a year. Make all of your performance management efforts pay off tenfold by taking some basic steps toward changing the way you address the performance management process overall.
Commit to giving feedback all year long. Don’t wait for the annual review. If you take the time to guide employees throughout the year, the frenetic energy that typically goes along with a performance review will dissipate naturally. Moreover, you’ll find that you become more adept at the performance conversation by practicing it on an ongoing basis, making the “official” performance review simply an in-depth version of what you have been doing all year.
Consider career aspirations. This should weigh on how you decide to prioritize performance. People do well on the things they want to do, and your employees are no different. While there are certain job expectations that must be met, regardless of whether they meet employee career expectations, knowing how the employee weighs each task and its importance will help you shape the language around your review.
Avoid the “feedback sandwich.” A canned performance review that starts with a few compliments, then dolls out criticism and couches it in a few more hollow compliments. Instead, give the overall picture of how well or poorly they are doing, and get right down to any disciplinary issues or rewards, as appropriate.
Did you know? Many (maybe even most) managers fail to care out effective performance discussions. Many of them can’t get an employee to agree that an issue even exists, they don’t identify all of the possible solutions, and they don’t involve the employee in finding solutions.