If you’re still relying on annual performance reviews alone to help your employees succeed, then it’s time to upgrade your employee review process. The outdated and increasingly ineffective approach looks like this: annual reviews, top-down communication, rigid processes and vague guidance. Mix these ingredients together, and you get an organizational cake that will fail to rise.
How to Improve Employee Reviews
Today, including regular performance conversations into the employee feedback mix can make a huge, positive impact on your approach to employee reviews. However, many HR leaders don’t know where to start.
While every organization has its own culture and circumstances, here are five straightforward steps that you can take right now to begin modernizing your employee review process:
- Encourage managers to listen more. In a recent HighGround survey of managers and employees, we found that less than half of managers are asking their employees one simple question: “How can I be a better manager to you?” This question shifts the focus of the conversation away from the employee in a way that both empowers and engages. It can help them relax, open up and be more receptive to any constructive feedback when the attention turns back to them.
- Include peer-to-peer feedback. Fear and anxiety are not emotions you want associated with development conversations. In our study, we found these emotional reactions double at companies that don’t integrate peer-to-peer feedback into their development conversations. So if you aren’t already bringing peers into the performance conversation, it’s time to start.
- Conduct employee reviews in person. Employee reviews should always be conducted in person when possible. It communicates that the meeting is important, but it also allows people on both sides of the table to engage more deeply with non-verbal communication. Even for more informal development conversations and check-ins, it’s best to do them offline and face-to-face. In our study, a strong majority of managers and employees stated a preference for in-person check-ins to other options like email or formal reports.
- Focus on measurable goals. Goals give employees purpose, and they offer managers benchmarks for measuring progress and performance. We’ve found that younger managers – those between 18 and 35 – are embracing goal-setting in their development conversations with employees. Eighty-two percent of the millennial managers we surveyed have their employees set performance goals at least quarterly.
- Encourage performance conversations. With all of the previous four principles in mind, your managers should be empowered and encouraged to have more frequent development conversations with employees. When the frequency of productive communication increases through check-ins, sit-down discussions and informal conversations, professional relationships will strengthen as feelings of trust and respect build.
Capture the Value of Every Performance Conversation
When the employees and managers in your organization are actively engaging in development-oriented dialogue, you’ll know that your leadership has made a positive impact on employee-manager relationships. But how do you turn those conversations into actionable information to move your company forward?
HighGround unlocks the power of employee review processes by saving the insights gained from one-on-one conversations, group feedback, and more. Rather than looking backward, your organization can confidently move forward with HighGround.
If you’d like to read more, fill out the form to the right to download, “Beyond the Annual Review.”