How to Boost Performance Review Effectiveness

I saw a joke about the current work-from-home order.

It went like this:

I bet that made some of you cringe. But the truth is we’re dealing with conditions where more of these gaps in communication can happen.

How can you prepare yourself and your employees to be productive and successful?

A lot of businesses use performance reviews to access how well (or poorly) an employee is performing. It happens once a year. This is the time when employees try to convince management they need more money, and management plays defense for payroll. 

What could possibly go wrong?

The main reasons I see performance reviews fail both employers and employees is:

  • Too much time between reviews
  • It’s a monologue not a conversation
  • There may be problems in management, not just performance
  • It’s too formal

Let’s break down that gap in time.

A lot can happen in a year. Do you remember the last Fourth of July? Or how about what you ate last Monday?

The truth is unless something was truly spectacular (good or bad) we don’t tend to remember it.

Psychologists call it “flashbulb memories” which simply means we don't remember most things completely. It's like a snapshot. Things that feel most important are captured in the foreground, but the background fades away. So your employee who has consistent good work and performs well generally may be remembered for one slip-up or big mistake.

How do we combat our memory-bias?

Meet with your employees more often!

It will be hard for you to keep tabs on what your employees are doing all the time, so don’t try. It will be easier for you to track your employee’s growth and contributions if you are regularly checking-in on them (which you can still do virtually!)

To make tracking progress easier, come up with some goals together.

These goals should be measurable.

Have a "before" and "after" so you can track your employee's progress. Are they able to deliver on the results that you two have agreed upon? 

If they succeed you can continue to make progress. If they don’t accomplish the goal it will demonstrate how they are able to handle an off-set and how well they are able to get back on track.

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You know what they need to do to improve, but do you know what you need to do? Don’t make it a negotiation, make it a brainstorm.

You and your employee have a chance to make each other better.

Use these frequent checkups as a way to communicate what’s working and what’s not. Think back to that goal you agreed upon earlier.

Did they take the correct steps between now and the last time you met? Are you able to  move on and get to the next point in the process?

If yes, check-in if they have any questions or ideas to contribute. 

If not, investigate. Try to target specific problems or challenges they encountered. Did they all occur on their end or were there ways for you to have intervened to offer guidance?

This isn’t about playing the blame game.

It is a chance for the two of you to build upon your relationship and skill set.

Think of it as a puzzle you’re both solving together. Come into the meeting prepared to ask for feedback. Listen to what they tell you and implement it! The only way for the work to get done and the goals achieved is to actively participate.

Loosen the reins and be “real.”

I see a lot of my clients struggle to connect with their employees.

It’s not for a lack of trying, but rather a lack of opportunity.

When you see performance reviews as an annual or even monthly evaluation one party will always feel like the judge and the other the judged. Don’t put your employee’s performance on trial, rather talk about it. When you strip away the stakes of pass or fail you will be able to make an honest assessment and a real opportunity for growth on both sides.

The goal of a performance review is to get the best results possible.

Work together. Find solutions and compromise. Use feedback to sharpen your tools and get those ideal results.

What does this look like for you?

If you’re struggling to breakthrough with your employees, you’re not alone.

When you are dealing with the current crisis it can be hard to make a regular commitment for these discussions. But the fact is you need to maintain these communication pathways.

That’s where we can help. 

I want you to get the most out of your employees and business.

Let’s discuss strategies that allow you to keep tackling your big challenges while laying the foundation for your ultimate team. We will work to make sure you have a reliable, loyal, and productive team that takes initiative.  

Get in touch today. 

If you are having trouble knowing exactly what you need to do during this difficult time, we can help! We've helped many business owners transform their team and helped their business thrive. 

Book a free 1-hour Breakthrough Consultation with us.

Erickson Business Coaching

Erickson Business Coaching, Inc. is a training and coaching company dedicated to helping skilled professionals build successful practices.

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May 5, 2020