“They aren’t important…it’s all about the money anyway.”
As much as I hate to admit this – yes, there are managers out there who believe this to be true! After hearing these words come out a manager’s mouth when I asked when he was going to get the performance reviews for his department completed, I decided to sit down all the managers at my company to explain to them what performance reviews are and why they are important.
While many employees have come to expect a raise to be rewarded at the time of their performance review, managers need to realize that this isn’t the purpose behind them. Performance Management is a more than just a “review” – its best when used as a check-and-balance method of communication. Employees today, more than ever, want to know what they are doing right, what they are doing wrong and what they can do to advance in the company.
The worst mistake a company can make is to avoid giving a performance review because they expect the employee to be looking for a raise. Not communicating with the employee shows them that the company doesn’t care about them or their career path…and before long, their performance will start to drop. A negative attitude will develop…employees will begin missing work or coming in late as dedication to the job begins to slide. By the time their manager finally does come around to giving them a review, all they will focus on is the employee’s poor performance – taking no ownership in the fact that they themselves contributed to the problem.
Performance reviews are basically feedback we give our employees. While many managers claim it takes too much time and limit it to once a year, it actually should take place more often during the year. Few goals take an entire year to complete so why wait so long to discuss them? Keep in mind – feedback sessions do not have to be formal reviews. Call it a “strategy meeting” or “career planning” if it makes it easier for you not to label it a “performance review.” You will sit down your entire department to talk about a goal and strategize how to accomplish it. Well, why not do the same with your employees?
Actually, if you conduct these performance review sessions more often throughout the year (my suggestion is to conduct them quarterly), they will take less time to complete as you will be updating and modifying the goals and expectations you have of your employees as you go along…tweeking it if you will. These sessions should be two-way feedback sessions with your employees also sharing their observations, expectations and suggestions for both personal and company improvement. Remember – while you are focused on managing these employees, they are the ones carry out the tasks and will have more insight into the effectiveness of the plans you have put into place.
Tie goals to a performance matrix so they know what they have to do before they can earn a raise and at what level. Think back to school – you knew what score you had to get in order to receive an A versus a B…put the same concept in place in the workplace. For revenue-generating positions, this can be tied to profit but even non-revenue positions can have “levels” of success for the employees to strive for. Talk about what additional training the employee should also look into and whether or not the company would be willing to absorb the cost. Let them research training and classes on their own to show you how serious they are about improving themselves.
And remember than performance management doesn’t have to be limited to a one-on-one discussion with the employee. Turn it into a true recognition program! Have your goal setting session with the employee and once they achieve them, make an announcement to the entire company. Not only will the employee enjoy the attention paid to their accomplishment, but it will (hopefully) motivate other employees to want to do the same.
In the end, communcation will increase throughout all levels at the company which will in turn boost employee morale and increase performance levels…all of which will lead to an increase in company profit. Now – doesn’t it seem worth the time to have these “pow wow” sessions with your employees? And if you feel compelled to award a raise as a result – I would say go with that feeling!