My employees dread performance reviews. How can we make them better?
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This is more common than you may think! David Watson, Product Marketing Manager at Zenefits, shares what you need to know about common pitfalls during the performance review process.
1. We conduct reviews too infrequently.
Often reviews are done annually or semi-annually. It’s a well-intentioned decision meant to reduce the workload on employees, but it leads to outdated feedback. How relevant are the things you worked on six or twelve months ago compared to what you’re doing today? And it also leads to negatively biased feedback because the actions and the outcomes most likely to be remembered six or twelve months later are the ones that were most visceral at the time. For example, the high drama assignment that went off the rails and the not low drama project where every milestone was hit on time and on budget.
2. We focus on the past
Many times the focus of reviews is what an employee did as opposed to what they’re doing now. Now, incorporating backward-looking information is absolutely necessary, particularly when it comes to assessing whether an employee met the goals needed to warrant consideration for bonus payments, raises, and promotions, but all too often the conversation stops after looking at the past. To develop your employees, it’s essential that the conversation shifts to the present and to the future: what the employee is doing, what they should be doing, and how the manager and the company will help them grow in bigger roles.
3. We make reviews too long
Now, this is done out of a desire to capture a comprehensive view of an employee. We pepper reviewers with questions and sacrifice quality for quantity. This leads to low completion rates reviews, plagued by comments, cut and pasted from a review to review, which ultimately leads to reviewer fatigue and apathy. Remember that by embracing the opportunity to develop employees, managers come to dread performance management season. Luckily, these are all very solvable problems. A lot of people operations managers find it helpful to meet with their employees on a regular basis to talk through an employee’s performance, as opposed to once or twice a year.
For more help addressing performance reviews, listen to the podcast episode below!
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