I love these articles on scraping performance reviews… this one printed in Fast Company Magazine (link below). I like the magazine for many reasons so my comments should not be construed as negatives against the magazine.
So I know I’m running the gauntlet of an old school leader, yet supporting performance reviews. I can attest to the fact that I used reviews successfully over the course of nine different positions, in two corporations, and 13 countries. And all ages of participants liked the process. My opinion is it is not the performance review process, or its relevance, that is at issue. I believe it is the manager or leader who badly screws up the process that is the issue. How? … not taking the time, bad time management skills, poor communications, not caring, unorganized, not focused on a team approach to getting the job done, and, the always classical, micro-manager.
In summary the Fast Company article notes that it is time to give up the annual performance review due to the needs of multi-generational organizations and replace the review process with the following.
- Give explicit instructions
- Conduct one-on-on check ins
- Have conversations about the employees future
- Use technology when it makes sense
- Practice the MBWA technique
I would suggest that the above list is part of traditional performance management, reviews, and sound leadership. If managers can’t handle the traditional review process they will certainly screw up the above. Again, to emphasize, it is not the process, it is the manager!
Here is my experience of what works:
Crystal clear communications are key:
- Publish a schedule of for initial, individual one-on-one’s with participants – ask them to submit a draft of their objectives for the year in advance — starts the process as a shared, two way partnership.
- At the one-on-one, discuss and fine-tune the objectives for the year… follow the SMART guidelines for meaningful objectives. Stress that, the participant owns the objectives, your door is always open, and help is always available. As well, help is available with dealing with barriers to getting it done.
- Check in one-on-one’s — quick discussions unless the participant needs detailed help.
- Encourage the participant to keep a running summary of related accomplishments so the year end review is easy.
- Schedule, conduct the year end review with the participant submitting, in advance, objectives and accomplishments.
- They’ll own it, like it, and the quality of the experience is solidly shouldered by the manager.
- Hold career discussions separately… career path stuff is important to participants and it deserves focused attention. It IS the managers/leaders job! About the greatest contribution you can make to those who work for you is to contribute to advancing their career!
When it goes bad, it is always the manager! “Join a company, quit a boss”!
***** S&E *****