The festive Holiday Season is here and for many managers and HR professionals so is the season for annual performance reviews. For some managers (and employees, too), the performance review process can take the sparkle out of the Holiday Season. However, when used effectively, the performance review can become a critical part of the employee’s job performance.
As an HR professional, I was tasked with administering this year-end process many times during my corporate career. I always thought that, if done strategically, conducting performance reviews was an excellent means to enhance employee engagement. One key component that I observed made the difference between an effective performance review meeting and one that wasn’t, was listening – and by that I mean active listening.
Listening Is Key
“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” –Bryant H. McGill
Employees may not always have an opportunity to be heard on what they feel is important about their job. The performance review allows them the opportunity to do just that. Listening to the employee’s impressions of both their job and of the company as a whole is important to rounding out an effective performance review.
However, the process doesn’t stop at just listening, to be effective, it is also about acting on what you have heard.
In more than a few instances, I have seen employees leave a company because of suggestions discussed during the review process, but the manager took no action on these items. Some of the changes and improvements that the employee desired could have been implemented at little or no cost but were ignored because management didn’t think they were important enough. Listen to understand whether the employee sees just how their job connects to the bigger picture. Act when employee suggestions and comments will contribute to their job satisfaction and performance and the overall growth of the company.
Importantly, active listening during the performance review can give insights on whether the employee has the right tools and training to perform their jobs. Does their position allow them to use their strengths? Are they being challenged? Listen for opportunities to coach your employees to optimal performance. Help them to make adjustments in order to get them to where they need to be. Ask questions, take notes, give feedback, take action.
If we are honest, performance reviews might be taken lightly and seen as an annoyance or nuisance, taking the sparkle out of our holidays rather than being the strategic tools they are. However, the fact is they are an opportunity to grow your employee and your company.
•Take advantage of this time you have with the employee.
•Use the performance review as an essential, strategic tool.
•Actively listen to what your employee feels is important to their job.
This is an opportunity to provide the best and most valuable performance review. It’s good for the employee and good for the company!