By Maggie Johnson
As we have just entered a new year, you may be planning or already planned performance goals with your employees. These employee performance goals more than likely tie to the 2019 goals for your organization. Thus, employees’ performance is integral to a company’s success. It would seem reasonable then that steady progress toward completion of those established employee goals, and general employee performance and productivity, would be at the forefront. Yet, more than 70% of employers still conduct only annual performance evaluations for their staff. There is, however, a strong trend to move to more meaningful discussions or “check-ins” with employees.
It began in 2012, at Cargill, a worldwide food producer and distributor, with the launch of its Everyday Performance Management system, followed by Google, Adobe and Accenture with similar practices that redefined performance management. Check-ins can be held on a quarterly, monthly, or even weekly basis. Now, companies such as Deloitte, The Gap and many others have ditched their annual performance reviews for continuous feedback. Check-ins often include an overview of employees’ goal progress to date and helps to keep them on track for successful goal completion. In addition, check-ins help to address any performance issues early before they evolve into a more serious problem. More importantly, check-ins can be the key to building employee engagement and job satisfaction.
According to a study, The Growth Divide, by Wakefield Research in April 2018, more than 94% of executives are confident that employers are satisfied with their company’s annual review process. However, in fact, 61% of employees feel the process is outdated, more than 50% of office professionals would like performance check-ins on a monthly basis; and 90% would prefer their manager to address mistakes in real time. Ongoing, real-time performance feedback has been shown to by the lynch-pin for improved business performance and employee success.
A check-in discussion with an employee might focus on the following questions:
- What do you feel you did well this month/quarter?
- Are you on track to meet the deadline?
- Do you think you could have done better?
- Did you encounter any obstacles that might have hurt your performance?
- Do you have any suggestions?
- What help do you think you need and how can I help you?
The manager’s goal should be to act as a coach and help the employee to identify learning opportunities and areas for improvement. This is achieved through honest feedback. So, if the employee’s response to any of the questions does not agree with the manager’s observations, the discrepancy should be discussed. This provides the employee with a better understanding of the expectations for job performance, and the manager may learn of any possible impediments to those expectations.
To help companies who want to make the transition from traditional annual performance evaluations to an ongoing performance feedback model, there are an increasing number of software solutions that provide for automated check-ins. This simplifies the performance review process even further and replaces long, written, and often arduous performance evaluation reports.
I have more than 25 years of experience in HR Leadership that spans the healthcare,education and financial services industries. I also hold a law degree (LLB) with honors from the University of London and have SPHR and SHRM-SPC designation from HRCI and the Society for Human Resource Management, respectively.
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