What were you doing one year ago? What projects were you working on? Without cheating and looking back on your calendar, emails or social media, you likely don’t have too many memories from 365 days ago that stick out. However, when we do annual reviews, we expect our team to have a memory that sharp. It’s just not realistic.
According to SHRM, 71% of organizations still use annual reviews as their main way to look over performance. While a majority of organizations do this, many of those in charge of human resources don’t agree with the method. More than 50% of HR representatives believe that annual reviews aren’t accurate. In short, annual reviews aren’t accurate and shouldn’t be relied upon as the main way to provide feedback to employees if we truly want them to evolve and grow.
So, what’s a small business to do?
It can be hard to quickly scrap the old way of doing things and dive into a new performance review process. However, there are tactics you can implement right now to make things better as you work toward a more efficient and effective way to review employee performance. Let’s dive in.
Ask questions that matter
Another thing that goes hand in hand with annual performance reviews is questions that likely aren’t getting the most out of people. For example, how many times have you had to answer a question that started with “On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate this employee’s communication skills?” or something close to that.
What does a 7.5 really mean? Where exactly did you miss the mark based on that answer?
Numerical responses don’t necessarily help an employee understand where they are doing well or where they could improve as much as open-ended questions do.
The goal for any review is to truly understand how the employee is performing and to get their perspective on what is and isn’t working. When we ask the right questions, we get closer to those answers.
Some sample questions may include:
- Talk to me about a project you have been involved in in the last 30 days that you’re really proud of. What did you enjoy during it? What was challenging?
- What’s the one thing you look forward to doing at work everyday? Why?
- What’s one thing that zaps your energy when you have to complete it? Why?
Finding out how and why your employees tick at work will help you better understand them, build your professional relationship with them and help them achieve their goals.
Have team members provide their feedback
When we think of performance reviews, we typically think of manager-employee feedback sessions that happen behind closed doors. But that’s just one out of the many relationships an employee has while working at your company.
When you provide feedback across the company from multiple perspectives, you’re more likely to give that employee a roadmap that they can use to successfully navigate great performance versus a single-perspective.
According to a report from Edgar Training Systems, 360 reviews, or reviews that have a multitude of perspectives from across the organization, foster more open communication across the team, increase employees’ self-awareness, boost morale and reduce employee turnover. Win, win!
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Make sure feedback is frequent
Nothing is worse than hearing feedback months after the situation it could have helped is over, but that’s exactly what extended periods between performance reviews do.
The more frequently we provide feedback, the better. In fact, a study by OfficeVibe found that 23% of employees were unsatisfied with the frequency of feedback they received from their managers.
First and foremost, frequent feedback does away with the guessing game of if any employee is on track or not. Our job as managers isn’t to leave employees assuming what to do. Our job is to create a clear path to success. We do this by the feedback we provide on employee performance and projects coming in. And the more often our employees hear it, the more opportunities they have to correct course. Here are some some surefire ways to provide better employee feedback.
Managers should be focused on providing frequent, quick feedback to employees in order to ensure they’re aligned with the mission and goals of the company daily.
The best way to provide feedback more frequently is to have on-going conversations throughout the week. Make sure to touch base with your employees at least once a week to ensure that they’re on track and don’t have any obstacles in the way of their success.