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Posts Tagged ‘performance review’

Love yourself: love your self-assessment

Posted by Justin Field on June 27, 2011

Hey, it’s performance review time, and your manager has asked you to complete your self-assessment.  Are you filled with dread?  Don’t know where tostart?  Don’t know what to write?  Well, here are my personal tips to help you out.

As HR practitioners, we often assume that employees simply know how to do a performance review and how to go about completing their self-assessment.  But, my informal research tells me that people don’t really know what to do, unless they’ve seen a good model performance review, or, they’ve had the benefit of coaching in the art of performance reviews.

Step 1:  Start the hunt
Review your performance dimensions so you know what you need to hunt for.  What are your job competencies embedded in your performance review?  What were your performance objectives?  Are there any other elements that you would like to highlight?

Step 2:  Hunt for the good, the bad and the ugly
There are three elements that I find personally useful here.

  1. Scan your sent email from the last year and see if you can remind yourself of the big projects that you worked on over the past 12 months.  The cognitive bias of recency means that you’ll only remember recent achievements (in the past three to six months) so take some time to remind yourself of the good stuff you did right at the beginning of the performance year.  Pay particular attention to congratulatory emails from others — they have high value in the performance review cycle.
  2. Your performance system may have a journal or notes feature, or, you may have been super-organised and collected little nuggets of achievements and accomplishments in a Word document or a paper file.  Open up your performance notes and remind yourself of all the good (and sometimes the stupid or bad) things that you did.
  3. Use your workplace systems to get good numeric or quantitative evidence that will support your achievements.  For example, I often teach webcasts, and I send out an online evaluation survey after each event.  So I can easily review all the events that I produced, and work out the average satisfaction score for each event.  Another example:  one of my roles is to answer questions from the HR group about the performance cycle and our performance management system.  I centralised all these questions into an online forum, so I can count how many questions were posted, and how long it took me to reply to questions.

Step 3:  Write up your results
If you managed to find plenty of evidence during your hunt, then you’ll find it easy to write up your comments for each performance dimension.  For your competencies, you’ll need to use evidence to call out the behaviours that demonstrate proficiency in that competency.  For example, for a competency such as Presentation Skills, you may write something like:

I presented twice at our staff meeting on the use of social networking tools for learning within our division.  I also posted several blog posts on this topic on our internal team blog.  Four comments on the blog showed that my peers in China and Hong Kong valued this information.  For the last presentation I did, I scored 86% satisfaction from participants.

For your performance objectives, you need to include a blend of qualitative and quantitative evidence.  For example, for a performance objective around building relationships with customers, you may write something like:

For the Carlton Company, I arranged a visit to the CVC in California.  I clarified the purpose and target outcomes with the customer’s Vice President, and shaped the agenda in California to address this, collaborating with Product Development and Marketing.  Later, I arranged four visits to existing customers in Australia and New Zealand (Westpac, Qantas, Air New Zealand, NBN Company).  As an outcome, Carlton signed a new deal worth $1.2 million.

In essence, you need to be as specific as you can, and give good evidence to support your achievements.  Sometimes employees tell me that they feel that they are running out of achievements, so they end up repeating themselves.  A little bit of repetition is okay, but don’t use the same example for every single competency and performance objective — you’ll end up sounding one-dimensional, and one achievement does not illustrate a trend, which is what we are trying to illustrate in our performance reviews.

So, best wishes for your self-assessment.  Do leave me a comment if you find these tips useful (or, useless!).

Posted in cognitive bias, communication, development, engagement, performance, productivity | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

It’s performance time again!

Posted by Justin Field on June 20, 2011

Folks, we’re in the midst of performance appraisals again. Yes, I used the dreaded ‘appraisal’ word because it heavily embedded in our culture.  But I wish that it wasn’t about appraisal in the sense of judgement.  It makes employees nervous and fretful, and gives managers headaches about what to say, how to say it, and how to deliver bad feedback.  What I really wish for is a world where:

  • employees look forward to the performance review cycle as a meaningful way of having a chat about how they are doing in their role
  • managers feel comfortable with reviewing an employee’s performance, giving good concrete examples of desirable and undesirable behaviours
  • employees have a crystal clear picture of the year ahead, and the expectations that the manager has

Sometimes we focus too much on having a good computer system to help with the performance review.  But in truth, the computer system is just a way of supporting the process.  For employees and managers to derive value from the process, they have to engage with open minds and with a willingness to learn.

Posted in performance, productivity, technology | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Have you done your performance review yet?

Posted by Justin Field on June 21, 2010

Well, folks, we are in the midst of our annual performance review season.  You won’t guess the Number 1 question I get asked (well, maybe you’re smart and you will guess it):  why should I do a performance appraisal?  What’s in it for me?

Sadly, most people take a selfish and purely financial view of the corporate world.  If the performance review doesn’t result an any salary increment, then why do it?  What’s the point?  And that is one possible view of the world.  To those people, I ask:  aren’t you interested in getting any feedback about how well you’ve done over the past year?  Don’t you want to know if you’ve done anything badly?  Or something that you could learn to do better in the year ahead? 

Don’t you want to grow your own skills and competencies?  Or would you rather just sit, like a lump of coal, and do nothing with your career and with your life. 

Since you’re spending at least 40 hours a week at work, and perhaps significantly more, wouldn’t you want to be happy and motivated and fulfilled and flooded with energy every morning as you wake up?  Or would you rather sit around and moan about your manager and your co-workers and let the world wash over you? 

Now, some folks might like to let the world wash over them.  They’re not interested in feedback.  They’re not interested in developing themselves and their careers.  And I say:  good luck to them.  Because it’s pure luck that they have managed to keep their jobs during the GFC and it’s pure luck that their manager still thinks that the employee should stay on.  In fact, what do those employees know anyway?  They’ve never bothered to wonder; they’ve never bothered to ask.

So, look around you, take stock of your world, and get stuck into your performance review.  Don’t make it tedious and boring — make it your chance to shine and your chance to get some realistic feedback about where you are and where you want to go.  Put lots of detailed, specific evidence in about your achievements during the year (you’ve saved all those laudatory emails, remember?).  And ask your manager about how you can go further and take it to the next level.  I bet they’ll be happy that you’ve shown the interest, that you want to be successful and that you want the best for yourself and your career.

Posted in Career Development, development, engagement, performance | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

Confessions of a performance review convert: no pain, no gain?…no longer!

Posted by Louise Barnfield on August 27, 2009

opportunity

I’ve noticed that performance review meetings with my manager have evolved over the past couple of years, and my performance document looks very different too. It has become a living, breathing document over the course of the entire year, and, as a result it is more complete and more relevant, both as a history and as a roadmap.

In the past, I admit I was prone to similar mistakes that Meg called out in an earlier post on performance reviews. Thanks Meg, I learned a lot from that post!

Happily, over time, she and others have encouraged me to improve my own self-evaluation process, and this in turn has provided better input for my manager, enabling him to make more comprehensive and constructive comments himself. I spend more time on the process than I used to, because it matters to me more – and it matters to me more, because it’s very evident that it matters to our management team.

Meg has strongly encouraged us to have more frequent reviews with our manager, to summarize progress on our goals, and adjust as necessary. On second thoughts, for ‘strongly encouraged’ read ‘mercilessly nagged’!! :-)

When I perceive the importance that’s placed on this process, then I’m willing to invest more in it myself.

This has meant, for this past year in particular, that I’ve updated my performance document at quarterly intervals, which made the final summary far more manageable and more meaningful, as I could see my own progress over the entire year. Since I didn’t have to conjure up 52 weeks’ worth of information when faced with the end-of-year deadline, it also meant I spent that time more productively reflecting on the year’s events and on where I want to go in the future.

In support of this frequent update process, a recent BusinessWeek article, The Trouble with Performance Reviews, states: “…reviews occur too infrequently to provide meaningful feedback.” Luckily for me, many of the negatives raised in the article no longer apply to my performance reviews: we do “make criteria more explicit and objective and have more people involved in the ratings process, so that one person’s perceptions and biases don’t matter so much”; we do “focus more on facts and evidence and less on benchmarking and unexamined conventional wisdom.”

The annual task that I used to dread is no longer drudgery, it’s my opportunity.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still not a breeze. I spent a long time thinking and working on this year’s self-evaluation, but it was a more satisfying process because I was able to focus my attention differently, and now that I see the positive outcome I certainly don’t feel the pain as I used to. So: less pain, more gain – gotta love that!

For those of you who lack the benefit of your own Meg kicking you up the proverbial backside, I encourage you to do yourselves a favor: proactively keep frequent notes and write your own quarterly review – schedule it in your calendar and don’t (as I’ve been known to do) let it slide into obscurity in deference to seemingly(!) higher priorities.

However, for those subjected to the same regular nagging that I am, be grateful that your managers encourage you to review your goals and keep them current. My management team recognizes the benefit of ensuring that team members are continually aligned to valid smart organizational goals, for the good of me as an individual as well as for the good of the team and the business.

I’ve already updated my 2010 performance document twice in the past 2 months! Quite a change for the person who (like our Ken) was previously dragged, kicking and screaming, through the once dreaded annual process.

Which are you, a diehard or a convert?

Photo by Little Jeanne

Posted in goals, management, performance, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

How about giving your Boss a Performance Review?

Posted by Vivian Wong on April 14, 2009

handshakeAs an employee, it’s easy to think of a Performance Review as a one way street where the manager reviews your performance. In some ways, a Performance Review is just like social networking (such as Twitter/Facebook)- some make the most of it, while others think it’s a complete waste of time.

If you make the most of your Performance Reviews, then congratulations! I hope you walk away from them knowing:

  • How you are doing at your job – what’s working and what’s not
  • Suggestions/Action items for growth
  • Hope for continued career growth – honest discussion so your manager can help align your strengths and career aspiration with the business needs

You can take it one step further. 

From time to time, you should give your manager the ultimate gift as well. As Meg noted in her Managing Your Boss blog, part of your job is to help your boss succeed. Just like your manager lets you know how you are performing, you should reciprocate and give your manager some feedback on how they are doing as your boss – all relationships (work or personal) thrive on a two-way communication.

So ask yourself: 

  • What is it that your manager does that either helps or hinders you from performing your best
  • Do you want your manager to continue or stop a particular behavior? 
  • What do you want your manager to start doing to bring out your potential?

I am betting that I am not the only manager who appreciates honest feedback from my team. 

For example, I would definitely want you to tell me if I have broccoli stuck in my teeth  or that I was abrasive in my communication or worse, I am de-motivating you unknowingly. I would also like to know if I am doing enough for you and whether  I am providing the right level of support to help you grow

It’s one thing to do the best I can, it’s another to know that my efforts have the desired effect;  and if not, I’d be happy to make improvements and be a better leader and manager!

So go ahead – give your manager some feedback – it might even help your manager to help you in finding happiness at work.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Thoughts on coaching and feedback

Posted by Meg Bear on December 16, 2008

coach  We talk a lot about how effective performance management requires regular coaching and feedback.  As luck would have it, I have been giving and receiving said feedback lately and so I’ve been thinking about what makes for good feedback.   

I think the most critical element of effective coaching is intention.  When you share feedback with an individual do you do it with honest intentions?  Do you want that feedback to be heard?  If so, you need to consider how it will be received.  Often times, the most important feedback is delivered in a way that it is of little or no use to the person who receives it.    This is the worst possible outcome for all involved.  The person receiving the feedback is hurt and now feels betrayed by the person giving the feedback and the person giving the feedback considers herself in a no win situation so avoids ever doing it again. 

To help you avoid these pitfalls, I thought I’d offer some suggestions  for your consideration.   The next time you need to give feedback I recommend you:

  • Evaluate your intention – are you giving feedback to help the person grow?  If so, can you present it in a way that your intention is clear?  You are not attempting to tell someone that they have something in their teeth to make them feel badly, you are doing it avoid having them feel badly.  Building up a relationship of trust with the person and helping them understand your intention, will help them hear you.   If they can’t hear you there was little value in providing the feedback.

 

  • Share your thinking – giving the person the broader context of your thinking can really help them understand what you are saying and put it to use.  If you just tell someone “don’t do this anymore” you often trigger their defense mechanism.  Natural skepticism can kick in such that they might disregard your feedback, justifying to themselves that, you might just be wrong.    Explaining why a certain behavior might be sabotoging their broader goals (and giving examples), will help them understand and digest the feedback in a way that moves them closer to addressing the issue.

 

  • Balance the feedback — only pointing out flaws can give the recipient a “mother-in-law” bias against your views.  If you are always pointing out what is wrong with someone, they are inclined to think that there is no pleasing you anyway.  Again, not a reaction that will cause someone to be open to taking action on your suggestions

 

  • Don’t forget to say the good stuff – do not take it as a given that the person receiving the feedback knows what you appreciate about them.   Even if they do, I know of no person who wouldn’t enjoy having it repeated.  Feedback is more helpful when it’s positive anyway.

Lastly, I would encourage you to do more feedback.  For your peers, for your management, for your employees.  Like anything else we get better with practice, so please do make coaching and feedback part of your personal style.  When good feedback happens, everyone benefits.

Posted in management, performance, teams | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Get rid of performance reviews?!?

Posted by Justin Field on October 22, 2008

Dr Sam Culbert writes in the Wall Street Journal that performance reviews destroy morale, kill teamwork and hurt the bottom line.  I take pity on Dr Culbert’s manager, who must be tearing his or her hair out with Dr Culbert’s obvious distaste for the performance review process.  And I wonder what it is like to work at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.  Are they practising all the bad habits that Dr Culbert’s shares in his article?

If only Dr Culbert’s arguments made sense.  He is clearly trapped in a performance review timewarp.  His version of performance review is medieval, with the manager (who he consistently calls “the boss”) standing in judgement of the hapless employee, who meekly accepts the manager’s opinion.  There are however kernels of truth in Dr Culbert’s analysis, so let’s take a look at the modern (non-medieval) way of performance evaluation:

1.  We believe in the concept and vision of daily performance managementDr Culbert does make reference to this when he says the once-a-year judgement of performance is a poor vehicle for giving and receiving feedback.  And he’s 100% correct.  Our concept of daily performance management is that the manager and the employee have a continuous, ongoing dialogue regarding the employee’s performance and how it can be adjusted to make the employee successful and to make the organisation successful.  To enable daily performance management, we believe our applications shouldn’t limit the user to a once-per-year interaction.  The system should be open and flexible and it should facilitate more frequent interactions.

2.  We believe in a future-facing performance management environment.  Dr Culbert seems to hate having his manager look back at past events and indiscretions and pointing out how bad he was.  Poor sausage.  Instead, think about a system based on performance objectives or goals, where the manager and the employee discuss those goals upfront, and then they collaborate on achieving them.  Dr Culbert would think he’d died and gone to heaven!  In fact, it comes very close to Dr Culbert’s idea of “performance previews,” looking at collaborating to support future performance, rather than looking back at historical events.

3.  We believe in open lines of communication between the manager and the employee.  The thing that struck me reading Dr Culbert’s article was how often the problems he perceived could be dealt with by open communication.  Now, it is true that it takes effort for a manager to build trust that would facilitate this level of communication, and the employee has to play their part too, but that is not to say that it is impossible. 

4.  We believe in customised and relevant content in the performance evaluation.  One of Dr Culbert’s gripes is that “bosses apply the same rating scale to people with different functions” and that managers “don’t redo the checklist for every different activity.”  Well, of course, that would be silly and unhelpful.  So our applications provide the ability to define precisely the content and measurements for each job, so that the manager and the employee have specific and relevant attributes that define success for each role.  And over and above that, the manager and the employee can define specific and personal objectives that apply only to that employee.  By supplying a library of skills, competencies and accomplishments, and by defining highly specific job profiles, our applications will help managers and employees to understand what the baseline expectations are.

Dr Culbert’s right about improvement:  “[it] is each individual’s own responsibility.”  So let’s have a performance management system that helps the individual clearly identify the opportunities.  And he’s right about trust too:  there needs to be a high level of trust between manager and employee.  So let’s have a performance management system that supports building of trust, rather than tearing it down.

Posted in Career Development, competency, engagement, goals, leadership, performance, personal, profiles, succession planning, teams, top talent, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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