The annual performance review is something many employees and managers dread. The reality is, most managers in today’s workplace became managers based on their performance in everything but management. Their training consists of annual, or bi-annual career adviser training, where they are trained on the type of performance feedback system that particular company uses.
But setting goals, following through, reviewing and setting up performance plans is important for an organizations success. In fact, a survey by Robert Half found 94 percent of 1,400 chief financial officers polled think reviews are somewhat or very effective in helping employees improve their performance.
To be successful though, performance plans need to be discussed, reviewed and managed more than just during an annual performance review.
“When you deliver feedback more consistently and systematically throughout the year, it takes a lot of pressure off the oft-dreaded annual performance review,” says John Manning, President of Management Action Programs, Inc. (MAP), a general management consulting firm headquartered in Los Angeles, CA. Since 1960, MAP has tapped its talent and expertise to help 170,000 leaders and 15,000 organizations nationwide create breakthrough results.
“You won’t need to address all kinds of ‘problems’ because you will have provided the feedback when various instances took place, coached your employee through those challenges and helped them improve throughout the year,” adds Manning, who is also the author of The Disciplined Leader: Keeping the Focus on What Really Matters.
Doing this, says Manning, will leave you more time in the annual review to do other things, like set reasonable goals for next year or spend some one-on-one time genuinely listening to what this staff member wants to accomplish.
According to the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM.org), a well-developed performance management system is an essential talent management tool for high-performing organizations. This discipline covers the aspects of creating a high performance culture which enables an organization to sustain competitive strategic advantage and exceed the expectations of all stakeholders. It provides techniques for creating an effective performance management system that clearly defines expectations, helps align employee behavior with business needs and organizational culture, while bringing visible value addition to the organization. In addition, this discipline delineates performance assessment methodology, balance scorecard, and employee performance review mechanisms including performance review formats, assessment processes and techniques as also performance tracking.
Performance Management delves further into the actions that need to be taken as a direct consequence of a performance review, especially performance coaching, recognition and managing poor performance, which includes the exit of poor performers. However, this discipline does not cover training and development which has been assigned to the Learning and Development discipline. Other outcomes of performance reviews, which include compensation, reward, promotion and incentives, come under the discipline of Compensation and Reward. (See more here)
Finally, remember that regular feedback is a communication tool that not only creates transparency in the workplace but also respect, says Manning. Why is that so important? Respect breeds loyalty and strong loyalty plays a big role in growing an organization’s productivity. And that, no doubt, is one of your primary goals.
So think about how you manage feedback, says Manning: “Are you delivering regular communications to individuals about their performance? Or do you tend to put it off or forget about it until the annual performance review arrives? If you’re doing either of these things, it’s time to change your approach. It may take some effort upfront, but delivering frequent feedback can make you and your company more effective.”