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Performance Management: Stop the Annual Madness!

It’s time to rethink performance management. In case you haven’t heard, the traditional “annual performance review” is dead.  And we at Careerstone Group wish it a hearty goodbye and good riddance.

Performance Management in the 21st Century should be an ongoing conversation and not a once-a-year activity. Providing feedback yearly doesn’t help anybody succeed. Employees want and need to know if their performance is hitting the mark. Conducting regular performance management conversations is one of the most valuable activities in which any leader, manager, or supervisor can engage. These regularly scheduled conversations help the employee, the leader, and your organization thrive and succeed.

So instead of waiting until the annual review meeting to discuss performance, consider holding shorter, regular (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly) performance conversations with your staff. It doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, once you get into the groove–it only takes about 15 minutes! Try to meet with any staff that report to you on at least a monthly basis and use a performance conversation agenda template so that meetings are predictable and productive.

The outline goes like this:

  1. What were the highlights of the past week?
  2. What did you learn in the past week?
  3. What would you like more of, less or, or different moving forward?
  4. What are your major focus areas right now?
  5. What are your goals for the week?
  6. Anything else you’d like to talk about?

This is a conversation, they share from their perspective, you share from yours.

There are multiple proven benefits from this format of performance management:

  1. There are no surprises: Employees know what to expect each week. You and your employees know how to prepare for the meetings
  2. Employees are encouraged and have an open opportunity to share concerns, provide feedback, and ask for what they want. This does not guarantee that they will get everything they ask for, but it opens a conversation
  3. It increases trust and provides a solid professional relationship for when more difficult questions or concerns need to be discussed
  4. You and the employee will increase comfort with feedback; it is both expected and appreciated, which continues to build trust
  5. It increases employee satisfaction. This is anecdotal, but the feedback I’ve received is that it’s unlike any other manager/employee relationship and it is highly appreciated by employees

Finally, if you still need to do an annual performance review—then that conversation is truly a review and recap of the conversations you’ve been having all year. This is also your opportunity to review salary, bonuses, and, any upcoming changes to benefits (particularly if they are based on years of service), as well as, a big-picture review of the year’s progress and focus areas for the year ahead. That’s about it.

Show your appreciation for your employees by taking the time to make performance management an ongoing process. You will both benefit from the commitment.

Leaders and managers don’t just manage numbers—they manage people! Check out our course to learn even more manager skills:

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