Everyone hates performance reviews. Employees hate them because they frequently consist of one-directional feedback (and far less frequently of salary increases). Managers hate being required to fill out byzantine assessment forms rather than just engaging in a normal conversation. And as for management experts … let’s just say it’s been equated to a blood sucking vampire.
How can we make this process better? Some experts say it is a matter of timing. According to Kevin Eikenberry, it’s the moment when your employees are most likely to be receptive. And when is that?
“We have all experienced this moment. It is a moment after a disappointment or defeat. It is after we have fallen off the bike for the 5th time and our elbows and knees are sore. It is when we feel like we have tried everything and haven’t improved. Or it may be when we are so excited and motivated by a goal that we feel invincible.
In short, it is when we ourselves recognize we have a need and we don’t know how to solve it ourselves – or we want something so badly, we’d do whatever it takes. For one or more of these reasons, we are truly open to new ideas.”
What you need to do, according to Eikenberry, is recognize those “coachable moments” by paying attention to what employees are saying (and what they’re not saying) and empathizing with their situation.
What are some good ways you’ve found to offer employee feedback outside of the formal review process? Alternatively, what are some tips for making reviews more effective and less, well, evil?