Ongoing performance conversations are one of the most productive ways to connect with your employees, understand their fears, motivations, ambitions, and to ensure that their vision and goals align with the organisation on a broader scale. Having said that, a poorly organised review session can culminate in resentment and eventually, resignation.
Lack of regular feedback and recognition can have a negative effect on your employees' morale and a sense of purpose.
Discard the traditional annual/bi-annual performance reviews and make the process more dynamic for increased engagement and productivity. Being agile and flexible in your approach enables you to connect with your people on various levels and crucial touchpoints to provide a smooth employee experience throughout their lifecycle.
One of the winners of 2019 Sweden's Best Managed Companies, Bisnode does continuous performance development differently. They have opted for a two-part, interwoven process.
They empower their people to choose the frequency of their one-on-one sessions other than the obligatory quarterly ones.
"You must have frequent one-on-ones to stay on track. We have stopped having annual performance evaluation forms, as no one reads the stuff anymore!
Let's face it - making every employee fill out an evaluation form and sitting down to talk about it every year-end is a huge waste of time and energy. Most employees - and leaders hate annual performance reviews. And for a good reason.
We encourage people to have a one-on-one with anyone they want – let it be their colleague or supervisor, or the HR manager. We even ask them to choose the frequency of their one-on-one meetings. They must have one of these meetings at least once a quarter, but it's up to them to decide if they want to have it more often.
Also, it is equally important for each employee in Bisnode to update the progress of their OKRs in Winningtemp regularly. The overall progress on OKRs is a good indicator of how one has performed."
"At Bisnode, when we commit ourselves to a larger goal than to hit our weekly and quarterly numbers, we don't need to waste time rating and grading employees. We only need to reinforce them and give them room to run! We need every millisecond of our time and energy to be spent inspiring and encouraging our teammates — not to mention moving obstacles out of their way."
All-year-round feedback system lets your employees feel heard. They appreciate the opportunity to be vocal with their thoughts and opinions, which leads to better engagement and commitment. It strengthens the position of the leaders as coaches and paves the way for meaningful conversations and real-time exchange of information and suggestions. Additionally, it enables managers to have deeper connections with newer employees.
Instead of following the age-old method, customise your own performance review system keeping in mind the following factors:
Managers should be well-prepared to take part in a sincere conversation about the employee's professional growth and development. They should be able to look into the OKRs, past records, progress updates, achievements, oversights, future prospects and have the talking points ready well before the meeting.
While preparing for the meetings, managers should request for inputs from colleagues who work closely with the contributor. However, these inputs shouldn't cloud their judgement. It's wise to leave individual opinions aside and review the case based on evidence and measurable insights.
Complete honesty is crucial for these dialogues, but it's also essential to keep the tone neutral. Managers should celebrate the small/big wins of the employees but at the same time, provide constructive criticism without placing blame or condemning them.
These performance reviews present a great opportunity to coach employees to drive better performance. Managers should moderate a stimulating conversation between the two parties by asking open-ended questions and requesting candid feedback.
Brief review sessions held regularly take much less time to prepare and execute. This practice also enables the managers to provide real-time feedback promptly without micromanaging the tasks or projects.
Managers should be able to record the critical moments of the meeting to create the next action plan along with the employee. It helps both parties to benchmark the progress and follow-up whenever required.
The key to success (which in this case means better performance, increased productivity, happier and more engaged employees) is to ask the right questions and draw the correct conclusions from the answers. This is where the years we have invested in combining behavioural science and research with artificial intelligence and deep learning come to play.
While it may be true that C-suite leaders and HR managers are pivotal in getting the ball rolling on employee engagement — but how would it look for engagement to be owned by everyone at your company, at every level?