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Friday, April 15, 2011

Performance Evaluations: Love 'em or Lose 'em?

This has been a fairly common debate recently and I know a lot of companies that have just said that the performance evaluation process stinks and have decided to "lose it" all together.  Here's why I think that's a bad idea.

People need to know where they stand
We all have a desire to get positive feedback, sure...we know that.  But people also want to know where they stand.  Positive feedback is not enough, we all have room to grow, and we need to hear that information from our bosses.  We might have an idea - and that "idea" could be correct, or it could be completely off base.

Self-assessment is important
Asking your direct reports about where they feel they are excelling and where they feel they have room to grow will show you if you are aligned or not.  One of my direct reports once told me that she thought that her accuracy could be better.  That was the least of my concerns (of which there were few), but come to find out, she really was feeling less than confident in her writing ability.  Knowing that, we can arrange for some writing classes to help boost her confidence, and I can tell her that accuracy is something that I'm not as concerned with (she was actually doing a great job!). 

It doesn't have to be a "process"
Making a performance "review" into a few simple questions that you talk to your people about is all it takes.  My suggestion:
  • Where am I doing great?
  • Where do I have room to improve?
  • How are we going to work together in the next few months to help my development?
Take some responsibility
As a manager, you have a responsibility to help develop your employees and they appreciate that you: 1) recognize this, and 2) that you're going to commit to doing something to help them.

That's all it takes!  Easy, eh?

I found that when I do this with my folks, they really appreciate it and it only takes about an hour and a half of our time - total. 
  • 30 min for them to write a "self-review" (I told them not to spend more time on it than this - just put their thoughts out on the table).
  • 30 min for me to write up my review.  After all, I am their manager.  Hopefully I know them well enough to quickly address these issues head on.  If not, as in the case of a new direct report due to transfer, I can reach out to others in the organization with the same questions for a little 360 help.
  • 30 min to meet and talk about it.
Done with great results!  I hope it works for you!

1 comment:

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