Employees feel like they are going to a meeting where judgement is to be rendered on past performance that seldom results in anything much different than an average rating. Supervisors regard these Performance Evaluations as a burden that consumes entirely too much time. They are uncomfortable with the communication of news seldom welcomed by the employee and abhor the stack ranking exercises required to “justify fairness”.
With this much distaste for the process you would expect that there would be a better way. Well, there is. First, let’s think about the objectives of the process. Why do we conduct Performance Evaluations? While every business or supervisor might prioritize these different, there are a core set of objectives we can likely all agree on.
- Review the Achievement of Goals and Objectives from the previous year.
- Develop and Communicate Necessary Course Corrections for the employee.
- Communicate any Compensation Changes based upon the evaluation.
- Establish or Communicate Goals and Objectives for the upcoming year.
You’ll notice that very little of the process is focused on performance improvement. It’s assumed that the employee will do that on their own accord, motivated by potential future compensation increases. Unfortunately, it has been evidenced that this approach seldom generates a measurable improvement to an employee’s performance.
In order to really develop a high performance team, you need to abandon this approach and implement a Coaching methodology. As a Certified Business Performance Coach, I successfully utilize this methodology every day and my clients enjoy performance improvement beyond their expectations. So, I’m going to share the secret to capitalizing on the coaching methodology.
The approach is essentially the same when working with employees, but it requires regular interaction between supervisors and direct reposts, the same as it does between me and my clients. Here’s one critical hint for a successful coaching process. The supervisor (coach) “asks” the employee questions and doesn’t “tell” the employee what to do. Once the process is effectively implemented you can virtually eliminate Performance Evaluations. Here are the steps to the process.
- Define the Goals for the Employee. Hopefully, the employee is involved in this discussion, but, if not, the process will still work but may have a more challenging start. Make sure the goals are defined as SMART goals. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Bound)
- Mutually Identify the Present Situation. Ask the employee to describe the current environment with respect to the goal. Share your perspectives and come to agreement on where the present situation currently stands. This will allow both of you to define the “Gap” between the present situation and the goal, and the amount of change and effort necessary to achieve the goal.
- Brainstorm Solutions and a Path Forward. Supervisors should NOT tell the employee their approach to achieving the goals. Ask the employee for their ideas and create a list of options. Have the employee choose the one they believe gives them the greatest opportunity for success.
- Choose and Plan a Course of Action. Through the process of asking questions the supervisor should allow the employee to come up with their best course of action. Have them develop a plan of action. In essence, have them identify the steps they will take to accomplish the goal.
- Anticipate the Obstacles. Ask the employee to identify what they believe could be obstacles to achieving the goals. Supervisors can contribute here as well. For each obstacle ask the employee to provide potential solutions.
- Confirm the Goals and Action Plans. Review, confirm and document the Goals, and Action Plans with the employee. Ask the employee for their comfort and commitment to achieving the goals.
- Coach Throughout the Year. This is critical. Before the meeting is concluded, supervisors should pre-schedule meetings with the employee, no less frequently than monthly to discuss progress on the plan, provide positive reinforcement, and facilitate the employee’s development of course corrections.
As you review these steps, supervisors (coaches) must remember that the employee (coachee) has to do the work. The Coaches job is to facilitate the thought process through questions, guidance, and positive support.
By utilizing this method, the annual performance evaluation becomes a casual conversation. Both, the supervisor, and the employee already know the status of achievement and course corrections. The establishment of new goals is easier because both parties are engaged in the process and compensation is just the communication of the change, the logic supporting it is already known.
If you want a high performance team with amazing engagement levels, contact me to train and coach your supervisors on the intricacies of this process. You’ll be amazed at how fast organizational performance will improve. The added benefit is that you’ll be a hero for eliminating that dreaded Performance Evaluation process.
Strategic Orientation, LLC
812-350-7621 Mobile 513-505-0109 Office