Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Discussing performance, part of Performance Review Foundations.
Facilitating a discussion about someone's performance at work can be difficult. Most leaders don't like overtly and formally judging someone. And, most employees don't like being evaluated. So, these conversations can be a little tense. But, they don't have to be. If you're well prepared and follow all of the advise we're about to discuss, the conversation can not only be largely free of stress but also very productive. So let's get started. The first thing I want you to do is watch the clock carefully.
Think about framing your use of time in terms of past, current and future. You want to shoot for 10% for the past, 50% for the current period, and 40% for discussing the future. The past should take no more than 10%. This is just you setting the performance context. For example you might simply note how long they've been with the company, how many promotions they've received, their current role, and how long they've held that position, and a small number of major wins, or losses from their last review.
That quick recap then leads to the main part of the discussion which is the current performance period. Here you want to address goal attainment and all ratings. That's the 360 self-ratings and the ratings you provide. In terms of goals, it's common some will have been met, some are still in progress, and some might be irrelevant or in need of change, because, as we all know, the needs of the team and the company often change. Eventually, when you get to the section of the review dealing with things such as finishes work in a timely fashion, or reaches goals, you'll provide ratings.
But now, you're simply discussing goal-related work, and providing any necessary feedback. Let's watch as Bridgette begins to discuss Elliot's performances. >> So congratulations on surviving your first year. >> Oh, thanks a lot. I know it's only been ten months but I really do feel like I'm part of the team already. >> Yeah. >> Thank you. Yeah so we brought you on in February so now it's been just over ten months. Now your initial goals for this period were to learn our processes and meet your monthly sales targets. After two months below quota, which is pretty typical for a new person, you've met or exceeded the departmental goals for the last eight months.
That's very good. >> Well I'm glad to hear that I was actually a little worried about how my learning curve is being viewed so. >> Well, you know, to be honest with you, the learning curve is anywhere from two to four months, and you did it in two, so that's great. >> Awesome. >> And your sales have been excellent along the way. >> Okay. >> Now let's get into specifics. Alright? So I want to note here that you first joined us in February and at that point. >> As you can see, Bridgette first sets the context, then highlights major goal related behavior as a general overview to set the tone for a deeper dive into the ratings.
Now it's time for ratings and gaps. Typically speaking, discussing gaps between self-ratings and those provided by others happens as you move through the appraisal template. And it's typically facilitated by software, showing side by side comparisons of all the different items in a column, with the different raters across the top. The rule of thumb here is to spend the majority of your time discussing only the biggest gaps. Let's watch as Bridgette continues. >> So far, for all the major competencies that we rated, the gaps between your scores and the scores provided by the rates are little to non-existent.
And your overall performance is strong. But there is one exception. Now, as you can see, for the effective communication competency you rated yourself an 8 out of 10, but the 360 produced a 6 and I chose a 5. I think this area's a small blind spot for you. >> yeah, and I'm sure that's an area I can improve on, but yeah. The size of the gaps did kind of surprise me though. >> Well, the data from others and my observation seem to suggest the same thing. That your communication style is so hurried and blunt, that although it feels honest, it's impersonal to the point of feeling a little cold.
Now, to be specific, you don't seem to do this with clients, it's only internally. So let's walk through some of the comments that were in the 360. >> Sure. >> Let's see. Oh, here's one. Elliott seems to always be in a hurry. When dealing with the team, he seems detached and uninterested in others. Are you aware of this perception? >> no, honestly I'm not. I, I, mean, I was surprised when I saw these comments. I think at first I thought it was personality differences but, apparently everyone felt the same. Maybe I'm not as good sometimes at communicating as I should be, or.
>> You're not bad. I mean, you're sales prove that. It's just more an awareness issue when dealing with your colleagues internally. And, you know, this is an area that I'm sure you can improve. >> Mm-hm. >> Okay? >> Yeah. Sure. >> Okay. So now that we've been through all of the major ratings, let's start thinking about the New Year. >> Sure. >> Now in terms of sales, your second year targets were made known to you when you joined us, so nothing surprising there. >> Mm-hm. >> But outside of new sales I want to push you a little. >> Sure. Now first I want you to start thinking about selling to your existing clients.
They very often want coverage that they haven't even thought about yet. And that's why we call them at least once a year is to check in on them and engage the sales process. >> Yeah, I've been thinking about that lately. I guess that I've been so focused on creating an initial client base that I haven't spent as much time thinking about this as I should. >> Oh sure I understand, and you know, that's why we're talking about this here. It's completely natural for a new member on the team to focus externally. >> Mm-hm. >> And that's where your major focus will always be. But I want you to spend a minority of your time selling to your established base.
>> Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. >> Okay, great. Now, next we need to think about helping you improve your communication skills as we discussed. >> Mm-hm. Well let me just start by asking, do you have any ideas? >> Well, I'm definitely open to any possibilities. I actually think I heard James mention that the company sent him on a professional communication workshop. That sounds like it would be something we could look into? >> Yeah. >> Okay. >> Yeah, we did send him a few years ago, and I do remember he came back and said it was very beneficial. >> Yeah. You might want to check in with him, you know, find out where it was he went.
>> Yeah. I'll do that >> Look around see if there's other. >> Like today, for sure. >> Okay, great. Then let me know what you find. >> Okay, sure. >> Okay. Great. >> You'll notice that while Bridgette drove the conversation, she made sure to leave room for Elliott's thoughts. She even let him suggest one possible solution and this always helps the employee feel committed to the goal. So that's the general flow of the conversation. But in addition, how you address these topics matters too. So here are a few tips that will help insure you stay in control and productive.
First, don't pass the buck. That means you have to own your ratings and comments. Don't say that you did what you did because of policy or something management dictated. Show respect and maturity by owning the evaluation as your personal thoughts and beliefs. Next remember, any and all surprises are your fault. If you prep correctly, and communicate throughout the year correctly, your employee will not be surprised by what happens during the appraisal. It's also useful in very small amounts to self deprecate.
For example, find one or two places in their evaluation where they're facing an issue you faced in the past and, briefly tell them about it. If they see you as a helpful colleague as much as they see you as the boss, they'll listen more effectively. Finally, be thoughtful when dealing with excuses and complaints. Because they might feel you lack information, or because they're simply defensive, you'll hear excuses and you will often see elevated emotions. First, with emotion, the key is to respond without emotion.
Unless it becomes extreme, don't address it. Merely respond in a very calm manner With excuses, actually listen. But resist taking notes which might signal to them that you accept their excuse. Most of the time, you'll want to respond with something like, Okay, I hear you and I assure you I did consider that fact. Or, I wasn't aware of that, but I don't think that changes my evaluation. The point is to communicate that you hear them but that the evaluation will not change. If you receive powerful, unexpected information, there can be exceptions, but generally when you arrive at the meeting, the evaluation has already been completed and doesn't need to be amended.
Let's see how Bridgette handles some of these issues with Elliott. >> You know, the more I think about it, the more I feel like the communication issues that people noted were just because I'm new and people don't really know me yet. >> Well, you're not really that new anymore Elliot, and I want to be clear. It's not just the team who provided this feedback. >> Mm-hm. >> My observations were very similar. Your interpersonal style will need to change. To be honest with you, I want to receive similar feedback myself. I was very young and very confident and I came off as too blunt. >> Mm. >> Looking back on it, I needed that feedback.
And I'm confident it's going to be useful to you as well. >> Oh, well, well thanks for saying that. I mean, known that you had to build skill as well, helps me put things in perspective. So I appreciate your being straightforward. >> Sure. >> Thank you. >> With very few words, Bridgette did not accept Elliot's excuse. She didn't pass the buck. She owned what she said and she even self-depricated a little. All of which increases the likelihood that Elliot actually hears her feedback. Discussing performance candidly is crucial for any successful team and that's never more true than during an employee appraisal meeting.
If you'll use the advice we discussed, you'll stay in control of the flow and comfortably in charge of the discussion, while ensuring that your employee receives a fair and useful evaluation
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- Understanding the performance cycle
- Setting performance goals
- Collecting performance data and feedback
- Writing the review
- Discussing performance with an employee
- Using a performance improvement plan (PIP)<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.