Good employees want to know how they are doing on the job. Just like humans need water to survive, employees need regular performance feedback to adjust their actions to meet the requirements of the company and its leaders.
Employees cannot read minds – they need leaders to lead and show the way.
The problem is that leaders are not necessarily good at leading. Most leaders rarely provide feedback. I think it’s because corporate America has so terribly screwed-up the performance feedback process that supervisors are afraid to give it. Employees are afraid to receive it.
Performance feedback has not been delivered well in the past and neither has it been received particularly well. One reason employees fear reviews is related to supervisors who compile a lengthy list of complaints and unload them on their people once each year, also known as the game of “gotcha.” The teachable moments have long since passed and now the employee is only going to get upset.
A best practice is to provide informal feedback on a daily or weekly basis. It simply requires open, honest communication between the leader and employee. These are coaching moments that allow the employee to adjust their performance without fear. When the employee realizes the leader cares for them as a person and wants to build a winning team, performance feedback has a positive tone.
If you absolutely need an annual review process, I recommend you take note of the simple process implemented by one of our clients, called the “Annual Checkup.” This review is completed by each employee and serves as a discussion platform with their leader. The Annual Checkup asks the following five questions:
- How do you feel you are doing in the job you are performing?
- What are your major accomplishments during the past year?
- What do you want to accomplish during the coming year? What would help you do this (education, process changes, gaining experience, etc.)?
- What aspects of your job do you do really well?
- In what aspects of your job would additional focus, attention or improvement be most valuable to you and the company?