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Dear Workforce What Happens When Performance Reviews Begin to Lose Their Impact?

My company requires us to perform a performance review for each of our staff members annually. As a part of the review process, we must create goals for the staff member to work on for the upcoming year. Unfortunately, the department that I supervise consists of only minimally skilled “dead-end” jobs. Thus, it is difficult to create goals for the staff. I have compensated by having them work on some personal goals (“You're good at this task, but let's try to become great at this task”), but these people have been working here a long time and I've already done everything there is to do.
March 1, 2011
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Related Topics: Behavioral Training, Performance Appraisals, Dear Workforce
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Dear Fresh Out of Ideas:
You are not alone when it comes to wrestling with the performance review process. Recent studies by Bersin & Associates have reported that 70 percent of employees and managers dislike performance appraisals. And according to research by People IQ, only 6 percent of CEOs say appraisals are effective. The reality is this: Most of us question how review processes improve performance, and find it frustrating to force-fit them in our organizations. Consequently, many organizations are abandoning traditional performance reviews in favor of management practices that support adult-to-adult collaborations, commitments and accountabilities.
You may not have the authority to shift your team to another system, but that doesn't mean you're stuck. There is a lot you can do to reinvigorate performance management, making it a useful exercise for your team members by helping them develop their commitment and passion for not-for-profit service. To do that, you likely will need to change your paradigm about performance management.
Here are four actions you can take to develop a more engaging performance management process.
1. Walk your employees through your organization, teaching them about whom, how many and how much the not-for-profit serves its target population. Provide opportunities for other teams in the organization to spend 20 or 30 minutes with your group explaining what they do and what they need from your team to improve the results. Do this as a team, not by yourself, allowing everyone to share in the experience.
2. As a not-for-profit, it is important to succeed in several critical areas in order to provide excellent long-term service to those you are committed to serving. Your not-for-profit must be true to the mission for whom it was created; efficiently manage its revenue, expenses and internal operations; provide top-quality products and/or services; and satisfy recipients of those services (as well as its supporters). Teach your team members the key deliverables in each of these areas and how they as a team can improve them.
3. Create a way to measure how well your team performs in each of these key areas. Facilitate a meeting to help members work as a team. Establish collective goals that enable your not-for-profit to serve more people or serve them in new and better ways. Guide the team in tracking its progress. Communicate frequently, and publicly report the results.
4. Help individual team members develop a sense of commitment. Have them make specific promises regarding what each one will do to help the team and the organization succeed. Document those individual promises as well as the goals of the team. Hold weekly team meetings to discuss what's working and what's not. Use these sessions to encourage team members, resolve problems and do what's necessary to achieve goals.
However, if your higher-ups insist on a traditional form and performance process, try the steps above and use the review form to record both individual and team promises and accomplishments. Submit review forms at year's end with data from team feedback and review meetings, and report accomplishments against goals. Use weekly meetings for an open performance review of the team. Meet individually with any team members who need personal coaching or a higher level of performance intervention.
If you can't obtain permission to create this level of change, review the four steps and apply what you can to make the performance management experience more meaningful for team members and the organization. As your team members engage and produce better results, perhaps you will one day be able to eliminate the review process altogether.
SOURCE: Kevin Herring, Ascent Management Consulting, Oro Valley, Arizona
LEARN MORE: Performance improvement should manifest itself in behavior change, experts say.
Workforce Management Online, March 2011 -- Register Now!
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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