It’s the time of year when you may be scheduling employee reviews. The employee knows he or she will hear about the good and the bad, and the supervisor will finally have to discuss those issues he or she has been avoiding all year. Usually both parties fudge a little and are glad that it’s over for another year. It’s another chance for open communication and feedback lost.
This year, don’t miss out on an opportunity to connect with your employees. Instead, try these tips:
Hold occasional employee check-ins. To improve the process, consider holding performance appraisals more frequently, perhaps even quarterly. This can help make the appraisal less of a “special event” and more of a routine exchange of information. It also means your feedback is more directly related to your employee’s recent performance, rather than coming months later.
Give timely feedback. If an employee does something wrong, or something good, tell him or her immediately. Point out the problem, make sure the employee acknowledges it, and make clear what you expect in the future. And if it’s something good, the employee will appreciate receiving a pat on the back. With immediate feedback, there should never be any surprises at review time.
Create an employee review summary. At the end of every appraisal, summarize the discussion and put the highlights in writing. Make sure your employee gets a copy. Before the next appraisal, ask your employee to review the copy and prepare his thoughts on his most recent performance. Ask him to present his opinions to start the discussion. If there are areas needing improvement, agree on an action plan and put that in writing too. And that might be a two-way street. It could involve your providing training or taking actions to support the employee, so make sure you’re living up to the agreement.
Don’t limit the appraisal to a scorecard on the employee’s achievements. If appropriate, use it to discuss career planning, cross-training or job enrichment. Solicit ideas from the employee. These techniques can help turn a judgmental meeting into a constructive exchange of ideas.