Number 2 in Eric Jackson’s top ten list of performance appraisal process mistakes on Forbes is: everything’s perfect – until it’s not and you’re fired. The unfortunate employee carries on doing the same things without any feedback, sometimes for years, then out of the blue they find they were doing the wrong thing all along.
This is deeply unfair – and not just on the outraged employee who could have used “a little heads up … so I could have tried to improve in that area,” as one bitter ex-employee put it. The manager has also had to put up with a simmering bad feeling, right up to the point when the pressure cooker blew, because there ‘just wasn’t time’ or ‘the opportunity didn’t arise’ to say anything, or because of fear of confronting a situation that was now beyond repair.
This kind of feedback is useless because it is delivered far too late to have any positive effect. In acting like this the company lays itself open to legal action as well, and if the employee can produce a whole series of glowing annual reports an employment tribunal may well take a dim view of the affair.
But how would you set up a system that allows useful feedback to be provided, in a timely manner, on issues that the employee concerned may not fully understand or even be properly conscious of?
WeThrive does exactly this – it elicits vital information on the roadblocks to effective performance, conscious or not, and makes it available to managers via an easy-to-read dashboard and reports. You can trigger an audit any time you like so that you have information at the point where it can be useful, and you’ll want to do it at least once a year so you can put the prioritised issues into your annual review process.
Once companies have found the benefits of being a little more in touch with what their people are thinking and feeling they may go for regular six-monthly assessments, or use the tool after re-organisations or major project launches so they can anticipate developing problems and take corrective action before they get out of hand.
Timing is everything in giving feedback – it shouldn’t be late but it can be too hasty as well, and then there’s a question of how to make the kind of connection with the employee that enables learning to take place. Look in our resources section for tip sheets on no-blame conversations, a teaching framework that will help your staff ‘get’ what you need them to know, and a free template for the performance appraisal process that makes working life better by turning an annual headache into mechanism for ongoing personal development.
If you find these free resources useful why not try WeThrive, free of charge, and make performance review mistakes a thing of the past. WeThrive your annual reviews will never be the same again.