Having efficient and understanding managers is a prerequisite for employee retention. Managers can either make employees be really productive and motivated by setting the right examples or make everything go downhill.
The role of a manager is even more crucial during performance reviews. Based on the way a manager handles the review process for his employees is extremely critical. During a review, a manager is not only assessing an employee’s performance but also laying down the probability of whether the employee will be satisfied with the entire process or not. Doing this right is very critical. The right approach can make employee engagement indices go up. The reverse is true if not handled well, which is, unfortunately, the case in most organizations.
Here are some small and simple steps that can enable managers to do this better:
1. Have a genuine interest
This is the first step. Any kind of review process involves analysis of behavior, attitude, and performance of employees over a long period of time. To be able to do this effectively, a genuine interest in the well being of the employee is a must. If reviews are treated as a chore and not as something which is critical, there is actually no point in dragging it around like a burden. It is the organization’s responsibility to instill such feelings into their managers so that it gets done well.
2. Regular check-ins
There is nothing more demotivating than being told out of the blue that one’s performance has been inadequate. It comes as a shock and can be taken as an insult as well. In fact, this is one of the things employees hate the most about performance reviews! Employees learn and achieve new things every day and they cannot wait six months or a year for someone to tell them how they fared in a project or task.
Managers need to ensure that they regularly check in with their employees and discuss performance with them. This should mostly be in the form of coaching and feedback, and also a pat on the back if required. All this needs to be kept note of and repeated in the final review process if required, with a clear memory.
3. Clear and to the point
Nobody likes a vague review. If managers are sharing their view or opinion about an employee’s performance, it needs to be as objective and specific as possible. Needless to say, it needs to be completely free of personal bias. Ambiguous feedback such as “Great work!” or “Not up to the mark” shows a lack of interest or depth and can be wrongly interpreted by the employee. This is why each and every aspect of the review needs to be specific and comprehensive. It should state events and numbers to make it more holistic and well researched. It should also be done in complete confidence and in a manner that does not leave any scope for confusion for the employee about his performance.
4. Effective communication
In order to write a good review, managers need to make communication with employees a two-way street. Both parties need to be given a fair chance to express concerns to each other. If managers have noticed something that requires negative feedback, they shouldn’t be the only ones speaking about it. Attentive listening skills and patience is very crucial. Managers should be able to probe where required and pay close attention to what employees have to say. They need to be empathetic and have an open mind. Only then can feedback be genuine and can help change employee behavior towards something better.
5. Employee self-evaluation
Before delving deeper into the issues causing negative behavior, managers must first try to understand what the employees think about the same. Ask your employees to complete a self-assessment before you meet with them. This will help you see how they perceive their own work and themselves. It will help you become aware of whether your thoughts align with their thoughts or not. And keeping that in mind, you can choose your responses accordingly.
For instance, if there are issues where there is contention, do not bring them up immediately. Start the conversation with the issues you share common grounds with.
Have any thoughts or feedback on this? Do let us know in the comments section!