Performance Reviews Must Be SMART

How often do you have your performance reviews with your staff?

Many companies plan annual reviews. In today’s world of changing priorities, strategies, and responsibilities, is it surprising then, that a recent public survey by Deloitte, more than half the executives questioned (58%,) reported that their current management approach neither drives employee engagement nor high performance? That’s why Marcus Buckingham is work with them to develop something “nimbler, real-time and individualized – something squarely focused on fueling performance in the future rather than assessing it in the past.”

Eval2Win is a system founded on Execute to Win’s solution to this approach. Just as SMART goals, focus on specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time defined goals, Eval2Win’s approach is that a performance review is a collaborative, ongoing process between the supervisor-and-employee dyad focused on what it takes to enable the employee to achieve continuous improvement in strategic performance, cultural alignment, and leadership skills (assuming they’re part of the person’s job.)

The key is for both the employee and supervisor to agree upon what the employee’s upcoming job responsibilities are, how success will be measured (using objective metrics), what the employee needs to help him/her succeed (and get that assistance), and a timely review process to see how things are working out. Rather that evaluate performance based on a clock, the approach is to assess progress on a timely basis. Thus, reviews depend on how when feedback will help reinforce good behaviors and values, and identify others which need to be changed.

Here are some examples. A new person is hired. After agreeing on the job description, the metrics for success and the support (training) the person will receive, the dyad may agree to review progress monthly for the first three months, to ensure the highest level of support by the supervisor and company. If each review goes fine, then at the end of the third month, they may agree to continue the process and review again after a three-months period. At that time, if all is fine and no changes have occurred, six months might pass before another review is needed; and at the end of the first year, if all is fine and nothing changes, an annual review process might be sufficient.

For most people their job descriptions will not be the same during the rest of their employment period. For instance, after 18 months, the person may receive a promotion or switch to a different department, division or even country. At that point, the job description has changed; and that means the employee and his/her (new) supervisor needs to craft a new job description, in which the new responsibilities are detailed with accompanying new metrics, and a new time schedule for reviewing progress would be set – because the HR goal didn’t change – continuous improvement within one’s job. This may mean initial reviews for this new job are every month, quarter or semi-annually – depending on how valuable the input will be to achei9ve top performance within the new job.

One example makes this clear. A sales person is hired and goes through review and progresses over a period of years from novice to expert. At the end of three years, if the person is getting a 10-out-of-10 on most ratings at the annual review, he/she is promoted to sales manager. At that point the job is different – the person many no longer be directly selling but instead mostly training, leading and managing. Thus, his/her new supervisor might agree that much more frequent reviews would be ideal for a few months, in order to make sure he/she is able to perform in this new leadership job at the same high level of performance as he/she did in the sales job.

In sum, use performance reviews whenever needed to help employees handle the upcoming job.! How well focused is your performance review system on meeting employees’ ability to be engaged and proficient so as to strategically execute their job? Share with us your experiences.

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