In businesses of all sizes we often hear that performance targets have not been met due to a lack of employee communications. The irony of this is, in today’s world, we have more tools at our disposal for communicating than ever before. We can even communicate in the remotest parts of the world at our finger tips if you include smart phones.
As a direct report, you may dread doing annual performance appraisals as it includes the daunting task of recreating a 12-month history for those employees whom you will be having conversations with, as well as to consume a lot of your time that would provide better use elsewhere.
So, what is the answer?
a) Take 15 minutes each month to coach each member of your team.
b) Identify what the end game is. If this employee has done all there is to be done within their control, what would that look like at the end of the month and what should their results look like?
c) Seek to understand. Acknowledge that the employee has a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished that month. Ask them. Don’t assume that they know what needs to be done even though they are skillfully qualified.
d) Ask these four questions:
1) What went well this past month? What did not go so well and why?
Repeatedly reflecting on past experiences contributes to future actions.
2) How has this “less than achievable” experience been addressed (solution focused and what specific solution did they contribute to personally)? Or, if everything went well, what do you
think the difference was and how might the rest of team benefit from their success?
3) What is their action plan for this month?
4) What help do they need from you?
By waiting until the year ends to rank 1-5 on the performance appraisal breeds mediocrity. Why wait until the year ends to address less than desirable achievements or to gamble on another year that may show little improvement?
A 15-minute monthly coaching allows the employee to identify shortcomings in their own words as well as potential solutions. By the employee acknowledging the issues and concerns, they take responsibility, and by empowering them to come up with solutions, they own the behaviors that are predictable, repeatable and sustainable for growth. 15 minutes of coaching on a monthly basis will save many hours annually when it comes to the daunting task of trying to remember deliverables and piecing together the performance appraisal. Also, regular conversations improve communications and leave no surprises.
By the time the annual appraisal is due to be reviewed, the employee and their direct report knows where they stand. With that in mind, with any substantial improvements and personal growth, employees should then be rewarded to reinforce a sustainable and solutions -focused culture.
Most Performance Appraisals rank the employee’s performance on a scale of 1-5 then they are told what they did or did not do so well. That information is historical and reactive, on the other hand, on-going 15 minutes of monthly coaching is proactive and endeavors to look ahead. So “Ask Don’t Tell.”
At Cogent Analytics, we never stop looking for ways to improve your business and neither should you. So, check out some of our other posts for helpful business information: