For those working in supervisory or management positions, the reminder of conducting Performance Reviews is most always met with, “oh, do we have to?” Similarly for the person on the other end of this process, there is an equal level of trepidation. Why has a fundamental form of feedback lost its intended purpose and become relegated to the lower echelons on one’s To Do List.
There are a number of factors contributing to its current status. One has to do with the frequency in that it has become this annual event; surely if it was important, it would happen more often. Secondly, it is viewed as an administrative activity and, for some unknown reason, important to have in the individual’s file. The third is because HR needs it done and while it might hold relevance to them, its value to those performing it has become lost. Finally, all too often it is linked to pay, and performance can be quickly forgotten in the discussion if there is some dissatisfaction with pay. After all whoever feels like they are being paid enough?
This discussion is quite ironic because everything done in business is about optimizing performance; whether it’s higher sales, new product introductions or improved operational efficiencies. People however are not quite as tangible and unique talents and qualities often make it difficult to assess their contribution. Notwithstanding, there can be no denying that employees need to receive feedback relative to their performance. In order to make this process more effective and embraced by all, the following might help.
- Performance should be reviewed on an ongoing basis. If something really good or bad happens, let the person know there and then and, if appropriate, let their file reflect it.
- “Good” is something to build on and “Bad” is an opportunity to learn from – professional development and coaching is therefore key to managing and enhancing performance
- Ensure the above is consistently happening throughout the organization. It can never be the responsibility of HR to ensure people performance is managed; that makes no sense. Equally it cannot be the remit of selective members of management; it needs to be a cultural expectation.
- While pay and performance are intrinsically linked, they should not be part of the same conversation. Per 1 above, performance is an ongoing discussion, pay should be annual.
Performance and feedback are intrinsically linked. By doing it often and adapting accordingly, the performance trajectory can only be upwards and that’s all that matters.