Over the last several years, controversy has raged among human resource professionals regarding the value of performance appraisals. One opinion is that they are a waste of time and resources – an old school, out dated method of giving employees feedback. Others see them as a valuable tool to help focus the discussion on job performance between the manager and the employee.
Regardless of how you feel about the process, performance reviews were designed to give feedback, and feedback is important.
Think about the instrument panel of the vehicle you drive. It’s designed to give you feedback. The speedometer, gas gauge and check engine light are all sources of feedback to the driver. If the driver fails to pay attention to the feedback given by one of these signals, the consequences range from a mild inconvenience (i.e. speeding ticket) to a costly repair (i.e. blown engine).
You may have heard the saying that employees join companies and leave bosses. The two main reasons people leave their boss is that they fail to give feedback to their employees about job performance and they fail to set clear work expectations. Since the focus of this article is feedback, here are some things you can do to give your valued employees information on their job performance.
Give Visual Feedback
Using the analogy of the instrument panel once again, many companies have designed what they call dashboards to track and share relevant statistics with their employees. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just clear. And if we continue to think along the lines of vehicles, using green, yellow and red as indicators can be helpful as well. Identify the KPI (key performance indicators) that you will want to track and report on a monthly, quarterly and yearly basis. Identify who will be responsible for tracking and sharing the data. (Maybe this is you, but I’d highly recommend your administrative assistant.) Create a system for data collection and reporting. (A Google search will yield many no cost examples. Excel spreadsheets are useful tools for this type of work). Share the data the same way at the same time. (Be consistent!)
Give Verbal Feedback
Most managers find it easier to give positive feedback than negative. Yet, I’m surprised how often managers miss the opportunity to say good job or thank you to their employees. If it’s not in place already, find a way to recognize the contributions of your team on a consistent basis. Use face-to-face specific feedback. Look your subordinate in the eye, shake their hand and say something like, “Thanks for the awesome work on the Smith account. I really appreciate the attention to detail you give all of our clients, but in this case you went above and beyond…” If you can’t see them in person, an e-mail or text message will work. You may also consider praise for a job well done on your website or at a company meeting. Be aware not everyone likes public recognition, but everyone appreciates a heartfelt thank you directly from their boss.
What mechanisms do you have in place to give your employees feedback about how they are doing on the job? Please post your comments below. Stay tuned for Part II of this blog post which will address how we respond to negative feedback!