The Performance Review or Performance Appraisal should probably be the starting point and the basis for all other reviews. But The Performance Review I am talking about may not be one that you have ever seen before.
The basis for much of my approach is the One-Minute Manager. If you haven’t read it, do yourself a favor and find the couple of hours it takes to read it. (btw, I like almost all of the One-Minute series)
One Minute Manager principles:
- 1 Minute Goals
- 1 Minute Praisings, the idea is to “catch” employees doing something right
- 1 Minute Reprimands (which a 30 second Praising, followed by a 30 second Reprimand)
But let’s also talk about some of the other principles that should be included in the Performance Review you develop for your Associates.
- Performance Reviews are best when performed frequently and have concrete objectives, both for business tasks and for self improvement.
- Beyond that, behavioral observations are better than “gut feelings”.
- Measure the behavior that you want, and don’t want.
- Self-Appraisals and Appraisals by other Team Members should be de rigueur.
- Identifying Training requirements is at least as important as evaluations.
- Alignment to Company goals and objectives is key
- Evaluate Fit as well as Competence
- Make sure the Performance Review reflects the Position Description; if not consider changing one or the other
- Make sure Praising are at least ½ of the Review. 3:1 or even 4:1 can be good ratios of Praisings to Areas of Improvement. But 5:0 is probably not helpful to anyone
Ok, so those are the principles of performance reviews but how do we do it?
A typical company answer is to build a document, and you can do that also, but if you take the time to read the One-Minute Manager you will see that mostly what we need to do is get the One-Minute Goals right.
So what is the right timeframe? People come in a variety of flavors. Some like big-picture goals, with a lot of freedom to get to the objective. Others need objectives which can be achieved in a short frame of time.
Decide if weekly or monthly check-ins or milestones work best for the particular project or work plan, but
- Agree to both the items and the time frames.
- Agree on tasks and improvement goals
- Agree to how each will advance a particular company objective.
- Agree on whether any further training or help is required.
- Agree on who else will be affected by the work, and who is best positioned to tell if the work is done satisfactorily (this will be who else is included in the Review)
- Agree as to whether measurements or behaviors will be the determinant of accomplishment.
Write these agreements on a one page document with these 4 elements for each item.
- The Fit, Task or Improvement Goal
the longer the time frame, the more likely you will have 3-5 sub-tasks each with the elements below
- The estimated time of completion with an indication as to the degree of certainty, i.e., if there are too many unknown variables you might either give a range of dates, or a probability of completion on time.
- Who will be affected and who is best positioned to evaluate the effectiveness of the work; this will be used to determine who will participate in the Review.
- What the measurement or specific behavior that is being requested.
Setting proper Goals
Goals and their due dates should be reviewed regularly. As a Goal is completed, review the entire remaining set of Goals, alter as necessary.
The Performance Review, then becomes a matter of recording the input from all parties involved in the review and maintaining them for a semi-annual or annual review prior to bonus or salary Reviews.
While this sounds like a lot of paperwork, it should be a variety of small reviews, updating a single document. So the review is cumulative.
The description above has highlighted project work, but can be adapted for customer service, sales and even finance, as well as the people who deliver service.
Also not mentioned above are One-Minute Praisings and One-Minute Reprimands. Always find opportunities to mention when you see one of your associates doing something right. I used to try to do this at least twice a week for each employees, marking it on my calendar. And One-Minute Reprimands. When you see a behavior or a problem that you believe needs to be corrected, a One-Minute Reprimand is appropriate. Try to do it at the moment you notice the issue. Remember, you always begin a One-Minute Reprimand by telling the employee what they are doing right, but that you need them to move this other behavior in a different direction.