Forget Performance Reviews, Do This Instead

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Forget Performance Reviews, Do This Instead

The dreaded performance review. Ughh.  Nothing brings down morale like sitting down with a manager to hear about what you’re doing right and what needs improvement.  Most human beings, even seasoned sales professionals with thick skins, dread the performance review almost as much as having a root canal.  We have them for all the right reasons.  We want to make sure our employees are tracking well, that they are doing the right work, and to ensure they are having a great work experience.  Yet for some reason the performance review is high on delivering anxiety and low on helping drive improvement.

The good news is there is a better way. A  friend and respected colleague of mine in the industry, John MacInnes over at Print Audit, has come up with a pretty neat way to ensure that everybody is productive and happy without ever doing a performance review.  Instead, John employs what he calls a “One To One”.  Even the name sounds friendlier than performance review, but it’s much more than just window dressing.  The One To One consists of filling out a brief form followed up by an in person get together or phone call.  The key is that it is employee focused and puts them in the driver’s seat for things they want to talk about.  The main elements are as follows:

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Let's Talk!

Item's I'd like to discuss

Items you want To discuss:  Everybody has things they want to talk about.  It could be something they are concerned about, it could be questions around employee benefits, or an exciting new idea for the business.  The point is that the employee can discuss anything they want, personal, business, or otherwise.  This is their chance to be heard.

3 priorities for the next month:  At DOCassess we’re big on goal setting.  This one allows us all to drive near-term objectives to the finish line and to ensure that everybody is on the same page as to what those are.  A priority could be getting another 50 contacts on LinkedIn, or completing testing on some new code.  People are goal driven and allowing them to set their own goals comes with surprisingly awesome results.

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3 accomplishments in the last month:  The employee lists 3 things they are proud of from the month.  This is a great chance to discuss some of the things that they feel good about, things that have contributed to the business.  It could also be about a course they completed or a mountain they climbed.  Your people are 3 dimensional so it’s important to allow them to share personal triumphs as well.

My own leadership/professional/personal development next steps:  This one is not to be confused with “3 priorities for the next month”.  The objective of this question is to make sure people are thinking about growth and learning.  It doesn’t have to do directly with the business, but rather directly with the personal growth and well being of the employee.

And that’s it!  These should never take more than an hour and often can be completed in half that time.  Because the staff member drives all the answers to the questions, they also get to feel like they have some level of control and pride in what they do and how they improve.  It is incredible how much more productive and happy people can be when they feel like they are in the driver’s seat.  Management benefits too because their staff tend to open up more and be less defensive. With the One to One model, everybody wins.  Do this every month instead of the dreaded performance review and you’ll see a huge difference on you and your people work together.

How about you?  Do you have some alternatives to the performance review?  Or do you think that the old-school way is the best way? Share your thoughts and ideas, we’re excited to hear them!
 

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