Performance reviews are generally something you nervously await. You never know how others are interpreting your work performance, your efforts or your attitude. Even the most confident of us still experience an element of doubt as we are about to receive the findings of our objective review. Some of you may have woken up in a cold sweat; walked seemingly in slow motion with feet of lead towards your manager’s office; felt your breath shorten and your throat become parched…all in anticipation of a less than impressive review. Yet what if you were the one delivering your own review?
Give employees an active role to play in their own performance review and they will be more engaged and responsible in shaping their own results. Information will be revealed that may otherwise go unobserved, such as further training they want to undertake. Perspectives of their strengths and weaknesses may differ to their manager yet gaining that information, and more importantly understanding their perspective, could alter the managers overall analysis. While evaluations between the two parties will certainly differ, given a voice and the opportunity to play a part the employee is more likely to then listen and absorb the assessment their manager delivers. It is difficult to be receptive to ones view of you if you are not given a right of reply, right?
When the performance appraisal is inclusive the employee will take greater ownership of their workplace performance goals set for the coming year. A collaborative performance management process will also foster a more enhanced level of communication between the employee and manager. With a greater alignment of expectations and priorities the organisation can reap further benefits with greater staff retention rates. Yet is an annual review frequent enough to keep everyone motivated and driven to achieving their individual and team goals? In a word, no. More goals will be realised and success gained for the business if reviews are quarterly.
Reviews can also be established to correlate with career planning, promotions and wage increases. More reviews I hear you say. Yes it does require time and effort however there are tools available to assist in streamlining this process and it doesn’t all involve paperwork. Reviewing both up and down the line will also give a greater insight to individual and team performances. Managers should not simply be reviewed by their superior but also the subordinates who directly report to them.
Another key component of delivering performance reviews is the manner in which feedback is communicated. If you ‘wing it’ chances are your feedback will be confusing and expectations moving forward unclear. So review past performances in conjunction with goals set for that period, discuss what was done well and provide examples that demonstrate this. Show where improvements can be made and together determine how this is to be achieved. If goals were not realised, analyse why and how to negate the barriers. In determining achievable goals moving forward you may establish that more managerial support is needed, further training to expand ones competencies or investment in resources required.
Regularly keeping track of accomplishments and responsibilities and paying attention to all the little extras can make the review process less draining. Adopting the SMART concept (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) will help you to identify and set goals that are both productive and rewarding. Having a positive mindset will result in self-evaluations that provide many benefits and let’s face it, everyone wants to do well and succeed. If you introduce a two-way process to assess performance you will not only gain an insight into an employee’s motivation and potential, but may also find that an employee’s performance is sometimes negatively affected by the organisation. With the correct preparation appraisals can be stimulating, boost self-confidence and be valued as a worthwhile organisational practice.