“Not my favorite time of year” shares a client with me. She has 23 performance reviews to complete on 23 expectant, highly trained, essential, critically needed talent that report directly to her.
Performance reviews are needed and we need to know how their performance is; they need to know how they are performing and we need to know how we are performing leading them in their performance. And yet…
I do not have one corporate client that is ever truly excited about doing performance reviews. Most performance systems collect performance data sporadically or infrequently. By the time we are ready to “write” what is important for “them” to hear, time has passed.
Seldom do we give immediate feedback to people about their performance.
“Nice job Sally” is not performance feedback. It is a compliment.
Performance feedback is more like:
- Nice job Sally – the report looked better than ever. Your outline format was easy to read and follow, and the stats regarding the Norton contract were right on – timely and relevant…next time let me know when you need the spreadsheets for the current Norton contract and I will get them to you for your monthly report.
- Bob, the write up for the project was on time, detailed, clean, clear, included the notes that the president wanted and printed well for accounting and the client. I especially like the use of the graphics depicting the dynamic growth of the team.
- Joe, you were on time with your data 5 times in a row. How do I know? Because you were late with the information so often it irritated me. Keep up the good work – it makes you accountable, dependable and respected, in my opinion.
- Hey rock star, nice immediate feedback on the directors monthly call today – impressive that you were able to answer the BOD question in real time. I appreciate your listening carefully to the question, asking clarifying questions and being able to feed the data to the entire group, as needed. I am delighted to have you on my team for a number of reasons. Two of them are for listening and responsiveness.
The reason detailed performance information is necessary is that not everyone knows what “nice job Sally” means. And they don’t know the details or how to apply them. Sure it makes them feel really good, but if they want to replicate the actions again, they will not know what you thought meant “nice job Sally” indicated.
EXAMPLE: As an experienced speaker and keynoter, I receive lots of great kudos when my “performance” is complete. Event planners, VPs, Presidents of Associations, tell me what a great job I did. And my response is “I sure hope so after 30+ years of speaking”. What I then ask them, is there anything that would have helped this be better; add more value; fit better for the audience…in other words, I want to make sure I get it and they get it. I want to constantly improve and I want them to get a deeper value in addition to “great job”.
A performance review is personal. Treat it that way. People wait to hear how they are doing. They need to know how they are doing.
Always ask the person being reviewed, to review their own performance and bring that evaluation to the performance review meeting.
Every performance review is a short story about the person who shows up every day to complete their job description and probably lots more. It is worth another 10 blogs to share with you the absolute mess that job descriptions are these days.
The performance review should include:
- Who they are, job description, time on the job and what the evaluation statements mean: meets requirements, exceed requirements etc
- Period of time that the performance review is covering
- Their self-review comments
- Previous year’s review, performance, goals and projects
- Commitments for completion for the performance period
- Whether merit is being considered or only performance
- Others comments and evaluations – peer review is huge to include
- What is working, what is not working, what needs to change and
what is next
- Some personal comments on observing their work or working with them
- Final “grade”
- Recommendations for promotion, succession, training etc.
Now you can see why having 23 performance evaluations to complete is gigantic task. It is also an even bigger privilege of how important that people receive accurate, timely and inspiring performance feedback.
If you are facing performance reviews that will be difficult because of performance issues, let me help. Delivering difficult information successfully is a hallmark of my coaching and you deserve to know how to do the same.
Communication continues to be difficult at times. Performance reviews are an opportunity to clear with what needs clarity and share with those essential people how important they are to you and the outcomes of the organization/clients.
To Your Success,
P.S. I have been asked to put together a Zoom presentation and help leaders, managers, executives, team leaders, with performance reviews – helping to clear up what can be done more easily. Let me know if you are interested. Send me an personal email – I will compile the group I hear from and set it up. A couple of hours on this together will clear up any issues that need to be discussed and make you look brilliant…you get to lose that knotted gut feeling.