HRD investigates the importance of preparation and engaging with staff ahead of performance reviews
It’s absolutely critical for both the manager and the employee to properly plan for an upcoming performance review, according to Andria Wyman-Clarke, professional career expert and Job Toolbox founder.
Moreover, practicing makes it a lot easier to have the discussion, particularly when it is going to be difficult because the employee is not hitting their goals or performing in their role
“From the employer’s perspective, the performance review is an opportunity to engage or disengage your employees,” Wyman-Clarke told HRD.
“There is obviously a trend where some companies are not doing an annual review and are doing them quarterly or monthly, but they need some mechanism to give salary increases and to engage employees.”
According to Wyman-Clarke, one of the reasons why some companies are doing away with performance reviews is because they are often done poorly and the way to do it properly is to train your managers through a set process.
“If I’m a manager and I haven’t adequately prepared, but the employee has then I am going to lose my confidence as a manager and not feel good about what I have done,” she said.
“It can also leave the employee disengaged and ready to leave, and staff turnover can cost a lot of money.”
So how often should performance reviews be?
“I have a preference for quarterly performance reviews,” said Wyman-Clarke.
“This allows you to track how managers are getting better at doing it because they are conducting it more frequently than the annual process.”
She added that it only has to be a short conversation, as quick as 15 minutes, 20 minutes or half an hour.
The important thing is that it engages employees because it’s an opportunity to formalise the feedback that you should be giving employees on a regular basis.
“I think it also has to come from a situation where it is two people sitting down discussing the last quarter as opposed to a manager treating it like a parent talking to a child,” said Wyman-Clarke.
“It’s important that the discussion should include what worked really well this quarter, what we learnt this quarter and what we can do differently in the next quarter to get even better results.”
Wyman-Clarke said that it’s also important to set clear objectives because managers sometimes make the mistake of making them too large or too cumbersome.
“Whatever period you are looking at, the manager can look at what the employee’s tasks, accomplishments and impacts were – particularly on the company, the department or the business strategy,” she said.
“And then create a plan for the next period which looks at what developments the person can have to enhance what they are good at and overcome any potential weaknesses.
“It is also important to have a discussion around whether or not the goals are actually achievable.”
The discussions should sit around a 50/50 or 60/40 percentage of who has the airtime, added Wyman-Clarke.
“If the manager is doing all the talking it is not a good performance review,” she said.
“If the employee is doing all the talking then they are not getting feedback – both positive and negative.
“It’s also an opportunity also to clear up any misunderstandings.”