Monday, June 10, 2013

Why Year-end Reviews Are A Big Fat Waste of Time

By Virgil R. Carter
Most of us are in organizations with personnel policies requiring annual employee performance evaluations.  These are often challenging, stressful and dreaded by all involved.  Now, Denis Wilson, writing in Fast Company, writes that “The standard-model performance review is an unhelpful barrage of built up criticism.  Instead, give feedback consistently so that your employees hear the good with the bad and make improvements a matter of routine”.
According to Wilson, “If the only feedback your employees get from you is in the form of a 6- or 12-month performance review, it’s time to change your approach to feedback.”  Instead of waiting for the obligatory performance reviews to come around, “you should have a built-in feedback loop with your reports.”  The best approach is to be giving people feedback on an ongoing basis about how their performance is lining up with expectations, and giving them the guidance, support, and helping make adjustments when needed.”
Here are some tips that Wilson recommends:
Up your frequency:  Leaders are often unwilling or unable to engage in sufficiently detailed and consistent dialogue with their people.  The problem is when conversations providing feedback happen infrequently, they have a tendency to cause more harm than good.  Ongoing discussions should provide clear goals, concrete explanations, a timeline and requirements within which to meet agreed upon goals.  This makes periodic formal performance reviews more positive and useful.
Get your motive and facts straight: Much of the work for effective feedback should take place well before a discussion with the employee.  Having clear intentions for the conversation will help set an appropriate tone.  Ask the question, “What is the desired outcome of the feedback session?”  The other homework needed is to gather facts and substantive data as evidence of the review points.
Stay on track:  Keep the feedback sessions on track, in terms of topic and emotional balance.  Don’t let the discussion veer off topic.  If the discussion turns emotional, set aside the feedback for a moment, and show that you have the person’s best interest at heart.  Emphasize the person’s potential for success and return to the key feedback points.
Create a candid culture:  It’s important to empower peers to provide each other with feedback and teach them the skills to do so effectively so performance problems are handled on the spot and between the people with which they occur.  Leaders need to foster the kinds of competencies needed to create a positive cultural operating system throughout the organization.
Feedback as transparency:  Encouraging feedback has operational benefits and it also contributes to an overall healthy, open culture.  That means communicating about both successes and failures throughout the organization.
For feedback to be effective, it “can’t be a special occasion”.  Feedback is much too often given when things are going wrong.  Of course, feedback should always be given when things are going wrong, but it’s equally important to also give feedback when things are going right.  For the full article, go to:

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