Deborah Peppard - HR Director
When it comes to workplace events that produce resentment and anxiety, few score higher than the big annual performance review. This dreaded process is a relic of the industrial age and in today’s world of working, getting feedback once a year no longer serves a purpose. It comes as a verdict, a judgment, whereas the intention needs to be course-correcting.
FEEDBACK FOR IMPROVEMENT AND INNOVATION
Today’s markets move too quickly for managers to check-in with employees only once each year, especially with research that shows how valuable regular employee feedback is for improving performance. Further, the annual performance review does not suit millennial and Gen Z workers who now make up a significant portion of the workforce. These workers have a commitment to self-improvement and career advancement which means they prefer real-time feedback throughout the year. They also value ongoing conversations so that they can make frequent incremental adjustments. This is tied to a desire to feel challenged, develop faster in their careers and find meaning in their work. It also fits with their digital habits, which are driven by instant likes and comments on social media posts.
The most innovative teams are evolving every day, not once a year… and this means that the way we manage employees and provide considered feedback has to also evolve. To ensure our people get what they need, when they need it…
In our Covid-19 world this has become even more important, with many employees now working from home and the likelihood of the workplace of the future being a hybrid model of a range of flexible working arrangements.
FEEDBACK STILL MATTERS
At HR Staff n’ Stuff we have always encouraged regular and ongoing feedback and with regards to employee performance reviews have advocated for two key things:
Our approach with regards to these matters has not changed, however, we are now staunch advocates of businesses shifting to more regular 1:1 performance conversations with employees, rather than an annual process. We now recommend best practice as short, sharp conversations that occur monthly and are designed to have constant, ongoing and relevant communication between managers and employees. These conversations should not default into current work discussions, but should stay focused on employee feedback, coaching and development.
This style of performance management is far more beneficial to the individual employee, the team, the manager and the business – and it far more suits the rapidly changing, dynamic business world we find ourselves in.
UP YOUR FEEDBACK GAME
As HR Consultants in a wide variety of industries with differing business needs and employee numbers, we have seen the positive impact of regular and ongoing feedback. To ensure success with any type of performance coaching program, it is critically important that managers are trained in how to provide a balance of constructive and positive feedback, and how to ensure that they address both technical performance and alignment of values in their feedback sessions.
At HR Staff n' Stuff we recommend that if you are going to change directions and/or implement a new coaching style 1:1 program, that you get set up with a robust system, process or structure to underpin how your internal program will work. From manual systems to free online software to paid apps – there will be a system suitable for you to assist your managers execute this integral part of their role.
Changes in management strategy like these can be hard to implement, especially for large companies. Even if you are not ready to shed annual performance reviews altogether, at least augment them with weekly employee feedback sessions and a strategy for coaching staff. You have a clear choice: step into the new world to engage and inspire your employees, or manage the risk of demotivated, uninspired, disengaged employees who do not hear enough from their managers!
If you would like to have a chat about what might work best for your business, or for training for your managers in effective employee engagement and performance conversations…....call us!
The HR Staff n' Stuff team all contribute to our blogs. Enjoy the read!