1. Schedule ongoing checkpoints
Six-monthly performance reviews are pointless, if there are no weekly catch ups to provide ongoing direction. Regular touch-point reviews are essential for sales roles with weekly KPIs, as they foster shared accountability between managers and employees. A weekly meeting will help you uncover any mitigating factors that may have influenced recent sales figures, and head off any potential issues before they snowball out of control. They also enable the employee to assess you, and provide feedback on the best ways you can support them to succeed. Think of the manager’s role as a kind of scaffolding—they are there to propel the staff upward from solid footing, and provide a safety net to protect them if they have a little slip up. These regular catch ups are your chance to dust off your cape and swoop in to catch them, before it’s too late.
2. Extend performance review beyond the actual review
Implement a good performance review process beyond the actual review. Instead of a plan marked with ‘Point A’ and ‘Point B’, with no way to get there, guide your employees with direction on how to actually make it happen. While agreeing on a future goal is great, you need to arm your employees with guideposts to get there. A set of achievable objectives or milestones along the way will not only make the overall task seem less onerous, it will also give the employee a sense of achievement each time one of the minor goals is reached. We live in an era of instant gratification, and now more than ever, people need tangible rewards and goal posts to aspire to, if they’re going to remain engaged and motivated long-term.
3. Implement a self-review process
Ask your employees to complete a brief self-review on a regular basis. One strategy some managers like to use is to give the employee a copy of their position description—but with the titled removed—and ask them what job they think it’s for. More often than not, they are surprised that it is in fact their own role. An employee needs to be able to recognise their own skills gaps if they’re ever going to meet their full potential.
It’s also vital that your employees understand the reason behind their KPIs, and how they align with the overall strategy of the business, so they can direct their work effort accordingly, says Jean Paul Ho, from human capital management leaders PeopleStreme. Otherwise, you risk a situation where your employees are unpleasantly surprised come appraisal time, as they’ve been unaware their efforts were misguided.
4. Bring in an hour of power
That’s right, a whole hour—a full 60 minutes, no interruptions—that you spend on the floor, working amongst the team and getting a real feel for how their roles play out in practice.
“Often, KPIs are set without understanding their true impact… and the original intent of the KPI is not achieved,” says Jean Paul.
Performance reviews don’t build culture—and it’s a strong culture that will propel your organisation forward. Sharing in your employees’ successes and failures, getting your hands dirty and stepping into their zone will foster a sense of teamwork and mutual respect, and boost the mood amongst the team. Reviews also don’t change attitudes—change comes from the top and trickles down through the ranks.
So, take your positive, go-getter attitude and embed that directly into your team during the ‘hour of power’ each week!
5. Use client/stakeholder feedback
A performance review in the formal setting, awash with numbers, buzzwords and analytics, doesn’t necessarily resonate in client-employee relations. On the other hand, feedback from clients and other stakeholders can provide a more genuine snapshot of how the employee is fulfilling their role in practice. They also see qualities you might not, and give you a better understanding of what your clients really want from staff. All too often, people in glass offices have distorted ideas, and what works well on paper simply doesn’t always translate to real life. You might value one approach, only to find your best salesperson uses a totally different one, with much success.
Don’t forget: you can learn as much from your employees as they can from you! You can also arm yourself with more insights and strategies for effective leadership by following ZACK Group’s LinkedIn page here.