In our previous article from the series on conducting performance reviews, we explained why there is a lot at stake in the process and what are the potential risks. At CSHARK, we address those challenges and offer a feedback process that is different from traditional methods. Our approach is systematic, more flexible and "understanding" - one that allows us to concentrate on what really matters and better prioritize the areas for improvement. There are four steps in the performance reviews process.
We like to begin the feedback process by simply collecting anything that comes to mind in relation to an employee - what comes first will likely be most important. The purpose of this task is to gather data that actually stands out and reflects the truth about the employee. At this stage, there is no censorship - the purpose of this task is to gather data for a further selection of what matters. Here is what such a discharge could look like:
In the second step, we group materials gathered in the initial brainstorming session into categories. Sometimes they will be divided into two categories, and sometimes into 5 or 6 - every feedback process is unique and different. The purpose of this stage is to see the patterns in an employee's behavior that can emerge from initial data analysis. Our process does not assume rigid categories that need to be commented on - we aim to fully understand and support a specific employee in his or her individual path. Here’s how we grouped the data from our example:
In this step, we select up to three areas to be discussed with the employee. We don’t discuss everything, because everyone has a limited capacity for retaining new information at one time. The feedback meeting should be oriented at helping the employee improve his performance, so the message must be delivered with an impact. Less information with a greater focus on details will keep them listening attentively.
Select those categories where the change of an employee's behavior will have the greatest impact on his performance. Choose what is most important, but also think whether the desired change is feasible in their case. Put emphasis where the employee's development will be in line with his capabilities. If an employee underperforms, however, he would simply have to correct as required.
In the final step, write the review down and share the document with your employee. In this way, they will have something to refer to until the next review meeting. Remember: always refer to specific actions or situations; by all means, avoid commenting on the employee’s personal traits. I find that writing the feedback in a natural language also resonates well with employees.
There are several techniques of conducting performance reviews in which you can convey even the toughest message in a positive manner. If you want to find out what they are, visit our blog soon for the third and last article in this series.
The article is inspired by the book "High Output Management Paperback" by Andrew S. Grove.