As a leader, how do you usually feel when the time for performance reviews rolls around?
Let’s be honest. Most leaders don’t enjoy the performance review process for several reasons.
Usually, they feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of meetings they have to hold in a short period of time. Often these conversations are also tied to employees’ compensation. With many companies making budget cuts these meetings can be tough when you don’t feel like you have much to offer beyond praise.
The result is that many leaders end up viewing the performance review process as tedious and time consuming (and it shows).
Employees, on the other hand, can fall on both sides of the fence when it comes to performance reviews. Mostly, employees just want a chance to sit down and chat with you, offer up some ideas, and walk away feeling like it’s worth getting up each morning.
But more often than not, if they’ve experienced a check-the-box review before, they approach the process with a sense of impending dread, feeling instead that the conversations are transactional and superficial in nature—a necessary evil that they must endure to get that pat on the back and a few extra bucks in their bank account.
How did we, as businesses, get to this point? After all, it’s the people in your organization who do the work that make it successful. Your employees are your only non-depreciable asset.
Conversations between employees and leaders shouldn’t be feared or happen only once or twice per year, yet in many companies this is the sad reality.
Tweet: True leadership isn’t about your job title or a one-time action; Leadership is a way of being.
Although you probably feel pressed for time, these can be some of the most crucial conversations you can have with your employees. Treat them like they’re important!
This year, choose to approach things differently and create a conversation that both you and your employees can enjoy.
Try these 10 tips to help you take your performance reviews from transactional to transformational!
1) Put yourself in their shoes.
Remember what it was like when you were at their level? Show up as the inspiring leader you wished you had back then. Regardless of how long an employee has worked with you or your company, they usually still want your approval and attention.
2) Don’t rush.
Give yourself plenty of time to meet with each employee and have a meaningful conversation. Since most days are packed to the gills with activity, choose to slow down and enjoy this opportunity to talk.
3) Have fun!
Although this is an important process, it doesn’t mean you have to be so serious. You will both enjoy the conversation more when you use it as an opportunity to laugh and bounce ideas around.
4) View the process as developmental, not punitive.
This isn’t about you harping on how they missed a goal by 5%. If you’ve done your job well, there shouldn’t be any surprises. The best leaders consistently communicate throughout the year.
Find out what your employee would love the chance to learn or do. When people love their work, they always do a great job! This may come in handy for the entire team as you play to employees’ strengths and interests.
5) Empower your employees.
Employees don’t want an hour of you talking at them. Instead, make this a dialogue. Ask thought-provoking questions and actually listen to their answers. What you hear might surprise you! (Bonus: You don’t have to blab for 87 straight hours to your direct reports!)
6) Solicit innovative ideas and solutions.
Your employees are usually more aware of their environment than you can be as a leader. Ask for their perspective on what could be implemented or improved and why. Some of the best ideas can come from the people who do the work every day.
7) Build and strengthen your relationships.
Want people to trust and respect you? Get to know what motivates your employees and what matters most in their lives. When employees know you care about them as humans with a life outside of work they’ll become loyal and engaged employees.
8) Be open and transparent.
Employees will be more inclined to perform when they understand how their tasks align to larger organizational goals. Help people see the purpose and importance of their work and how it supports the overall vision and mission of your company.
9) Seek feedback.
You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Ask how you could better help or support them as a leader. What do they need from you in order to feel as if they’re set up for success? The best leaders aren’t afraid to ask for input.
10) Commit to engaging more often.
If you’re in the crowd that’s guilty of only talking to folks when they mess up or when it’s prescribed by HR, commit to meeting with people more regularly. The more you engage with your team, the more you will build trust, cooperation, and productivity.
Creating a culture of engagement and empowerment in any organization takes both courage and effort. And it begins with YOU. Make this year’s performance review process different and better than ever before!