(Don't turn your purrformance review into a cat-astrophe.)
You may think that the title of this blog, “You’re Doing It Wrong: Performance Reviews” is aimed at an employee who is doing their job wrong and thus requires a review of their performance. Sorry if the wording was misleading, but that’s not the case. The title is aimed at managers, and the seemingly prevalent philosophy in workplaces these days towards performance reviews.
Performance reviews have gotten a bad rap. For many employees, hearing the term “performance review” brings about unease and anxiety, making them feel they are in trouble or their job is in danger. This is because some companies only conduct performance reviews when an employee has done something wrong, or is not living up to an established set of goals.
There is also the standard Annual Performance Review, which can't possibly track all the things accomplished throughout an entire year. When I come into the office on Monday and my coworkers ask me what I did this weekend, I have trouble thinking back to all the wild shenanigans I got into on Saturday night (the safe, and probably true answer: sitting on my couch — binge watching various Netflix programming — surrounded by cats). Now think about reviewing all the things an employee did over the last year. Trying to pinpoint successes and the areas on which they can improve seems fruitless.
Here at Hiregy, we take a different approach to performance reviews. Instead of something that is done after the fact, to reprimand or “correct” an employee, we do our “performance reviews” on a monthly basis. Here are some of the ways we approach them.
All In the Name
Instead of calling them "Performance Reviews" which, as stated previously, can be viewed negatively, we call them One 2 Ones. This sounds like exactly what it is, a one to one conversation with information being exchanged from both parties, instead of a review of one party while the other party sits silently waiting for the clock to run out.
The most important aspect of the One 2 Ones are the goals. Each meeting consists of reviewing goals established in the previous One 2 Ones, and discussing how the employee is doing in reaching said goals. If the employee is off course, the manager has a chance to help them out and get them back on track.
Each One 2 One is structured the same and can be followed along on a handy one-sheet. The session starts off with a brief discussion of how the last month went, then leads into reviewing commitments from the previous meeting, and ends with establishing priorities and goals for the next month. As each job is different, other discussion points can be added.
Let's change the philosphy when it comes to performance reviews. These should be something an employee looks forward to, as a chance to celebrate the successes of the previous month, and also as a chance to get some helpful direction in any trouble areas.