Be it working on the strategy itself or engaging with the performance management process or encouraging team collaboration – ensuring that performance management is smooth requires more than just filling out forms.
And one of the most crucial aspects in ensuring this is the key role that supervisors play.
Supervisors are the ones who essentially carry out the performance review meeting. But their role does not just start or end there. Here are a few ways in which supervisors can take the steam off their employees and make performance reviews something to look forward to.
1. Involve the employees at every step of the process
Who are the reviews for? The employees. So why are they so lost in most of the process? Why do performance reviews still seem like a mystery to them? A mystery they mostly couldn’t care less of?
Efficient supervisors need to establish a collaborative framework where the objectives of the performance management process are laid out as clearly as possible. The kind of strategy that gets adopted should be reviewed not just by the management but also by the employees. Their feedback and opinions should be taken into account because they would know best where they want to improve upon.
The goals, duties, and responsibilities should not be set solely by the supervisor. Instead, they should be jotted down after careful analysis and conversation with the employees. The targets and review periods should be arrived at after a mutual agreement. Both parties should define what success looks like with equal roles to play.
2. Set clear expectations from the very beginning
The performance management process goes beyond just deliverables and expects behavioral change as well. A lot of attention is placed on what an employee needs to accomplish and how to meet these expectations. In order to be able to reach the end goals, supervisors should be extremely clear on “what” needs to be accomplished and “how” it needs to be accomplished. This would mean setting all the standards and guidelines for employee behavior, team communication and how it aligns to organizational values.
Before setting up any review meeting, employees should come as prepared as their supervisors. Employees should be asked to evaluate their own performance and make recommendations for themselves and the process as well. This way biases can be eliminated. The reliability of memory and hearsay can also be done with as everything will be tracked and noted from time to time.
3. Make employees understand why the system exists
Every organization has a performance management system. It mostly exists because it has to. Because of this nature of getting reviews done, employees often hate when that time of the year arrives, or they are called in for a meeting regarding that. A system that is loathed by all will never work.
A meaningful performance management system is one which is created by the people and for the people. In doing so, the process should be made as transparent as possible and give employees ample reasons to feel like participating voluntarily. The aim should be to make them better employees, make them learn new skills and quench their everlasting thirst for knowledge and information. Training should be given to them to make them understand and appreciate how it applies to their growth, as well as the growth of their organization.
Effective supervisors once again will work towards ensuring that all these steps are taken care of and employees are encouraged at every step to understand the process. No part of the process should seem ambiguous or undefined.
4. Making coaching conversations a part of the process
Employees want genuine attention from their supervisors, with continuous guidance on what goals to achieve and how to achieve them. As a process, coaching enables two people to develop a relationship that enables them to do better. It also gives the sense that the coach genuinely cares about the progress of the employee, and the purposeful conversations become a source of inspiration and motivation to aim higher.
Supervisors who act as coaches rather than bosses allow their employees the space to express what they need to accomplish their goals – the resources that can help them and the barriers that challenge them. Scheduled meetings to discuss these issues and setting clearer targets, offering feedback on the past week or month – are all excellent motivators. Such regular interactions are bound to create a much more effective performance management process.
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