Posts Tagged ‘performance feedback’

How to Develop Your Employees by Providing Feedback

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Part of a manager’s job is to help grow and develop talent for the organization.  And, most employees want to know how they are doing.  When managers take the time and effort to comment on an employee’s work, they are helping shape not only that employee, but the organization as well. But, when managers fail to provide feedback, they actually impoverish the individual as well as the organization. Performance-Evaluation-Form-Feedback

Some managers hesitate to give feedback for a couple of reasons:

1 – They may feel that giving positive reinforcing feedback to employees will “spoil” them or that it is not necessary since the employees are just doing the job for which they are being paid.

2 – They may dread the awkward conversation that sometimes happens when they must give corrective or improvement feedback, so they say nothing and hope the situation will improve.

At CAI, part of our mission is to replace fear with action.  We share with our classroom participants a simple formula for doing so.  It’s called the BIT.  BIT stands for behavior, impact and tomorrow.  It’s a handy way to remember that feedback, regardless of whether it is reinforcing or corrective, should have three elements:

  • Behavior – talk to the employee about exactly what he or she has observed or overheard doing or saying.
  • Impact – let the employee know the impact (again, whether positive or negative) that his/her behavior has on the customer, their colleagues or other stakeholders.
  • Tomorrow – finally, explain that you wish for the employee to continue exhibiting the positive behavior and encourage him/her to do more of it OR let the employee know that a behavior change must take place within a given time period.

Examples:

Positive, reinforcing:

  • Jason, I heard you speaking to an upset customer in the lobby this morning.  He sounded pretty angry.  You kept calm and did not raise your voice.  Instead, you asked him for more details and just listened.
  • The impact of your composure was to not only calm our customer down, but to preserve his business with us.  I feel confident that he intended to close his account when he first came into the lobby.
  • Jason, we appreciate your professionalism immensely.  Next week, we have a new employee starting in Customer Service.  Would you please make some time to let her shadow you on some of your customer service calls?

Corrective, need for improvement:

  • Marcy, yesterday I saw you turn your back on our auditor who was waiting for the key to the conference room. It was clear you saw her standing there, but you ignored her until she had to ask you again for the key.
  • The impact of this behavior is that in addition to being impolite, you have sent a message of indifference to the auditing staff, who is here trying to help us.
  • From tomorrow on, please make it a point to greet the auditors when they arrive and ask them how you can assist them.  Please extend the same courtesy to them as you would to our customers.

The BIT statement is a powerful tool that does not diminish the employee in any way.  It does not judge someone’s character or intent; it merely states the facts and their impact and further clarifies the manager’s expectations.

Let CAI help you optimize your management skills.

lindataylor

Linda L. Taylor, MS, SPHR, CCP, is a Learning & Development Partner at CAI. She brings more than 20 years of human resource and organizational experience to her role as a trainer. Linda is responsible for teaching CAI’s various courses, including The Management Advantage™, to train and educate members and clients. Her extensive experience as manager, consultant, and educator provides her with a unique skill set that allows her to effectively partner with member organizations and work to positively impact their business results.

 

An Effective Recipe for Managing One-on-One Employee Meetings

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

1_1_meetingCoaching and mentoring employees is a critical part of any Manager’s job. Providing feedback to your direct reports can come in many forms and frequencies. Feedback can be either positive or negative and should always be presented as constructive. In fact, candid and constructive feedback, even if negative, is usually very appreciated by the employee. A Harvard Business Review study found that 57% of employees prefer corrective feedback and 72% say their performance would improve with more feedback.

How often should you meet with each employee?  We recommend at a minimum conducting a monthly 1:1 meeting with each of your employees. Now, to be clear, I’m talking about a regular monthly discussion about employee performance and development goals. I am not suggesting that you should only talk to your employees once a month, as good as that might sound to some of you.

What does the meeting look like?  One good technique is called the five by five. Imagine a sheet of paper that at the top has the employees 4-6 performance goals for the year and their development goals. Then below those goals the employee lists out the five activities they plan to work on over the next month towards accomplishing their annual goal. Then when you meet in 30 days, they first report on progress towards their five planned activities last month, and then they set five more activities for the next month. The manager provides feedback and input. This process repeats every month, forever. For this system to work, you must make it clear that the employee owns their performance, not you the manager, which is another tenet of effective performance management.

Here’s a sample meeting flow to get you started:

  • Begin the meeting with some casual conversation which will tend to relax your employee and get them to converse and open up. A simple “How are you?” or “How is the job going this week?” are good ways to start. Listening to their response may provide you with some insight on how you approach this meeting and about shaping the discussion.
  • The employee reviews progress towards last months five activities and / or development plan. Look for obstacles that got in the way and how / if they overcame them. Look to see if certain tasks are continuing to push out each month.
  • The employee then reviews the five activities they need to achieve next month in order to ultimately accomplish their annual goals / plan. Find out what obstacles stand in their way of accomplishing their activities. Are there processes or procedures which are difficult and or frustrating to work with or cause delays? Ask how you can help to remove these barriers.
  • Talk about alignment of priorities and values between the employee, you and the organization. Be candid about where you see where they are, and comparing it to where they think they are.  Work with them to make adjustments so you align more closely with each other’s expectations.
  • Now that you have discussed the current performance, you may want to review a few long-range goals, initiatives or projects. These may be stretch goals or also working on a cross-functional team.  Both sides should have something to gain by meeting these objectives. Establish checkpoints along the way to ensure these longer-range objectives are staying on track as well.

No one has time to waste in a long unproductive meeting.  Getting in to a regular 1:1 meeting rhythm like we suggest above with employees will help ensure the right items are discussed and we remain focused on the right plans.  Regular feedback goes a long way toward making employees feel valued and ultimately improves your overall employee retention.

Need help giving performance feedback? Check out CAI.

renee

 

CAI Advice & Resolution team member Renee Watkins is a seasoned HR professional with a diverse background in Human Resource. Renee provides CAI members with practical advice in a wide-range of human resource functions including conflict resolution, compliance and regulatory issues, and employee relations.

Fixing a Broken Performance Management System – Part I

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

As a manager, few things are harder than delivering honest performance feedback to an employee.  Of course giving bad news isn’t supposed to be Performance-Review-Chalkboardfun.  Some managers avoid giving bad news altogether hoping performance improves on its own.  Others sugar coat the news to the point that the employee can’t see the problem.  Then there are those managers who just “tell it like it is” with no filters or tact.  They may succeed in getting their point across but at a cost.  

Many managers struggle equally at giving good performance news.  Some pour on the kudos so much or so generically that employees aren’t sure what specific actions are being praised.  And then far too many other managers don’t take the time to give any feedback at all, usually because they are so “busy.”   It’s no wonder why HR professionals and executives alike regularly bemoan the state of their performance management process.  So it seems that the only people that like how performance management is practiced at many companies are those slackers who aren’t being appropriately addressed …

At what cost? Employee underperformance is at epidemic proportions in some companies.  On average, U.S. managers waste 34 days per year dealing with underperformance.  Tolerated underperformance is also a leading reason top performers, who have to work harder to cover the slack, leave for greener pastures.  Eventually this underperformance affects customers and that of course affects the top and bottom line.  Don’t believe me, think of how frustrated you are as a customer when you’re at the hands of an underperforming employee.  How does that employee’s behavior affect your future buying patterns? 

The Cure.  Fortunately the cure for poor performance management is simple to understand and it doesn’t hurt.  And to be clear, the problem isn’t with whatever appraisal form you use. I’ve never seen an appraisal form that makes up for poor hiring, unclear expectations, infrequent or non-existent 1:1 meetings with employees, poor managers, poor execution,  and so on.  More on the form in next week’s article.

First, most employee performance problems are really hiring problems.  We regularly hire people that don’t fit our culture and then we waste valuable time trying to “fix” them.  I heard it put once, you’re hired [too quickly] for what you know and fired [too slowly] for who you are.  The cure: only hire people that fit your culture.   At this point I normally see executive eye rolling when I speak on this subject.  I realize that “defining your culture” seems like another “squishy” HR thing to a busy executive but the process really can be quite simple.  Minimally take your company values and find people that possess those values.  Of course this assumes we have values, and that we live those values daily.  Applicants either possess the values or they don’t.  This isn’t a 1 – 10 rating kind of thing.  If they posses the value, then take Gino Wickman’s advice in his book Traction and ask yourself for each applicant:  Do they Get it [the role], Want it [to work with you], and have the Capacity [knowledge, skill and capability] to do it (GWC).  I could add twenty more steps for defining your culture, and they probably won’t get you any farther than your values and GWC.

Second, there should be no disagreement over what successful performance looks like at your company. Instead of using out dated and/or generic job descriptions, consider setting clear expectations and measures for each employee that are directly or at least indirectly tied to organizational priorities.  So for example, a typical CFO job description might say “Assure optimum utilization of financial resources through sound forecasting and cash management.”  Alternatively, a success profile would say:

  • Reduce costs by 10% across-the-board to achieve EBIT objectives for the next fiscal year. 
  • Establish cross functional cost reduction teams within three months completing work in 12 months.
  • Within nine months, achieve a 15% price reduction in raw materials.
  • Develop a back-up sourcing plan to ensure cost reduction of $700,000 in year one.

Now imagine you’ve taken the time to establish annual performance objectives like that with each of your employees.  I realize it takes time for the manager.  But think how much easier it would be to measure performance, to deliver feedback.  Think of how much ownership the employee would have over the results.  And think of how much better your company performance would be if all employees were working a similar plan.  Unfortunately, without such specificity, the responsibility rests on each manager to subjectively determine if someone’s performance is satisfactory.  And that is a very uncomfortable place to be and is one explanation for why typical performance ratings don’t reflect reality.

So, hire people that fit your culture and provide crystal clear expectations of success for each employee and you’re well on the way to fixing your broken performance management system.  Tune in next week when I cover more secrets to fixing your broken system.

If you have employees in North Carolina and need help implementing or fine-tuning your Performance Management system, CAI can help with advice, information, tools, templates and more.