Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Managing performance throughout the year, part of Performance Review Foundations.
The first thing to remember about managing your employees' performance is that it's a continuous process throughout the year, not something you only discuss during a formal employee evaluation. Let's put the actual evaluation in perspective. The typical manager might spend one, maybe two weeks, out of a 52-week year preparing and delivering direct report evaluations. The other 50 plus weeks are spent doing your work and a major portion of that is really about facilitating the work of others. So, lets talk about what it means to manage performance throughout the entire year.
It's all about understanding when and how to use check-ins. A check-in is an effort you make to reach out to individual members of your team in order to inquire about their status and offer assistance. Actually, when you use check-ins you have three main goals: to provide support and assistance, to maintain visibility, and to help avoid surprises during employee evaluations. The first goal is what most people think of, providing support and assistance. Yes it's true, that sometimes you'll feel the need to overtly inquire about the status of their work.
That's normal and understandable. However, how you inquire determines whether they feel like a child being scolded or an adult contributing to a team. You could just cut to the point by stopping in unannounced and barking, hey, are you finished with that report yet? That might be efficient, but it's not likely effective. When I mentioned the goals for check-ins, you'll notice I didn't break out inquiring as a separate goal. That's because when you inquire correctly, the inquiry is only one part of your effort to help and assist your employee.
Your real goal is to facilitate progress. Assessing where they're at is part of it, but in addition you have to show positive support. Suggest resources, and look at their work and offer any needed advice. To only inquire almost sounds negative, and your goal is clear. Make your little interventions positive and about helping them get great work done. The other two goals for check-ins are secondary, but still very important: maintaining visibility, and avoiding future surprises. Here, when I say maintaining visibility I'm simply referring to the fact that when you use check-ins correctly the team knows you're around, that you're paying attention, and that you care.
By avoiding surprises, I'm talking about surprises in the yearly or bi-yearly employee evaluation. During an evaluation discussion there should be no surprises. I like to say that if the employee is ever surprised, it's the manager's fault. Use the check-ins regularly and you'll know exactly where everyone is so that nobody has to experience surprises come evaluation time. Here are a few more quick tips that will help you get the most out of the time spent checking in on the team. First, if you have time, always try to make your check ins in person.
The telephone, email, IMs, or other electronic means are absolutely okay once in a while. But most of the time, try to get face to face. Next, know which one of your employees is high-touch and which is low-touch. High-touch employees need more attention to feel supported, connected and in the loop. While low-touch employees require less personal attention. Neither is better than the other. The point here is to simply know what they need so you won't under communicate with a high-touch team member or over-communicate with a low-touch member.
Its also useful to think about how to time your check-ins. Should they be at regular recurring times or at random times? The best answer is both. Establishing one or two typical times you check in provides some useful predictability for your team. Then stopping in on an ad hoc basis as well helps keep people on their toes. Finally, let's remember a few things to avoid. Check-ins are vital but be sure not to oversocialize or allow employees to reverse delegate. And here's the biggest.
Be sure overall not to check in too often. Otherwise you risk being seen as a boss constantly hovering over their shoulders. It's important to talk about how to conduct great employee evaluations, but it's even more important to talk about what to do the rest of the year between evaluations. Follow the advice we just discussed and your check-ins will support clarity, connection, and strong performance.
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The information contained in the following course is provided with the viewer's understanding that the course should not be used as a substitute for consulting a human resource professional at your company for specific guidance. Lynda.com and LinkedIn expressly disclaim liability for any damages, loss, or risk, incurred as a direct or indirect consequence, from the use and application of any content herein.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- 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.