The Sharpening Stone: Feedback and Future

So let me start by asking you a few questions about something that most organizations tend to look at on an annual basis – employee performance.  Is your performance management process working?  Is it meaningful to you as a leader, and to your team members?  Is it a supporting tool for your organizational goals and objectives?

If the answer to any of these questions is “No”, then you may want to consider some changes to your performance management process.

First of all, the goals of an effective performance management process should be to provide relevant feedback and coaching to your team, and to address future development opportunities.

Here are a couple essentials for designing an effective performance management process:

First, you want your process to communicate clear expectations and to closely align with your organization’s goals and values.

Second, your process should be occurring throughout the year. It should not be an annual ritual or event.  A number of companies have actually eliminated the annual review because it has not provided sufficient value to their organizations or employees.  However, performance still matters, and studies show that 80% of employees want regular feedback from their boss.

So what actions can you take to make your process more effective?  Well, I am a big proponent of weekly 1:1’s, where the leader and team member meet for around 20-30 minutes, the team member drives the agenda, and the leader provides feedback, evaluates performance, and looks for opportunities to coach/help. You can also consider quarterly “check-ins,” which are much more effective than annual reviews.  These “check-ins” include feedback for the previous 3 months, while ensuring alignment and clarity of goals for the next 3 months.  These are also great opportunities to stay on top of your employees’ growth and development.  “Check-ins” have a more positive and forward-looking tone than performance “reviews,” which are all about looking in the proverbial “rearview mirror.”

When your performance management process is focused on the future, everyone has a development plan.  All of us have room for improvement, and performance management processes that do not identify areas of growth are of little value.

I hope that you will consider what changes you can make to your organizational performance management process to make it more focused on feedback and the future.  Your organization will be stronger because of it, and your employees more engaged.

About the Author: Steve Erb

Steve is a graduate of Purdue University where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics / Statistics, and Villanova University, where he received his MBA. Steve’s career has included senior leadership positions with two Fortune500 companies in Procurement, Logistics, Supply Chain, and Operations. Steve also built out the Organizational Development/HR department for a software technology firm and was a key part of seven (7) acquisitions over a 2-year period; as well as developing a successful compensation strategy and structure.

Steve’s expertise lies in developing operations strategies that eliminate redundancies; streamline processes/systems; and deliver productivity, quality, and efficiency gains. Steve has a proven reputation for caring for employees and teams, resulting in an overriding “Servant Leadership” mentality that transforms company cultures and creates a sense of employee engagement and accountability. Steve is also known for his change management expertise and ability to gain credibility to align performance drivers, customer expectations, and initiate continuous improvement across multi-site operations.

The Sharpening Stone

The Sharpening Stone is a series of short videos from True Edge designed to sharpen leaders and their organizations.

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