Performance reviews can inspire feelings of trepidation in employees, concern in employers and affect an atmosphere of tension that is hard to ignore. As a manager, you know they don’t want to think about the lines written under their names, waiting to knock them off a perch of holiday fantasies and festive plans.
If you have yet to move toward monthly reviews or quarterly assessments, the annual performance scorecard can be helpful to everybody in the office – employees know where they’re falling short and managers understand what must be done to improve results. Frame it as you must, but this won’t be very pleasant, but it can be constructive.
Let Them Start the Conversation
Think back to last time you were nervous, so nervous your legs were bouncing under the table and your throat tightened with every sneaky, side-long thought. Right now, your employees are feeling similar sensations, even if they’ve done a great job and hit every target you’ve set. It’s instinct. Let them get started, keep the tone relaxed and ask your employee to identify their personal and professional highlights of the past 12 months, spring-boarding into the discussion you need to have off a positive.
Make a Time and Keep It
The end of year crunch time can be busy, demanding more time than you have and causing many rushed appointments. It may be tempting to cancel, reschedule or announce a performance review with little notice, squeezing an employee here and another there until everybody is checked off. Not only is this approach stressful for you, jumping from task to task, your employee may also find it distressing, as you’re failing to exhibit a true interest in their progress. Invest time and reap the rewards, otherwise they won’t take you seriously next time.
While feedback is essential for growth, telling somebody they need to pull their socks up and knuckle down is not an improvement plan. Be prepared to chart out where performance needs a kick, discussing adjusted KPIs and measurements of improvement. Turn something negative into a growth prospect so your employee leaves the meeting feeling inspired and eager to achieve.
Be Open to Feedback
Business relationships are often reciprocal. Sure, occasionally employees are a bad fit, present a negative attitude and fill a role that is perhaps better suited to a different skillset, but most of the time, the success of the team is down to management. Be open to hearing their feedback regarding order of priorities, allocation of resources and team empowerment – they should not fear reprisal from giving you an honest assessment. Instead, take their feedback seriously and if a pattern emerges from the collective, consider ways to strengthen management processes or resource allocation. They cannot succeed unless they are given the tools to do so.
Looking for advice from an experienced Brisbane human resources firm? Contact our offices and discuss managing your people today.
Claire Harrison is the Founder and Managing Director of Harrisons, a flourishing HR consulting business that sprouted in 2009 from Claire’s passionate belief that inspiring leaders and superstar employees are the key success factor to any business. With over 20 years’ experience, Claire has worked as a HR Director of multi-national organisations, as a Non-Executive Board Director, and a small business owner. Claire’s corporate career includes working with companies such as BHP, Westpac, Fonterra and Mayne Nickless.