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Perfecting performance

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Getting the best out of staff

by Annabel Cooper
How many of us are familiar with the process of trying to remember our achievements for the previous year while also attempting to list impressive goals for the year ahead, before waiting nervously outside the boss’s door for that dreaded corporate ritual — the annual performance review?

“I think that every single cycle starts with tremendous potential and the majority ends in a lack of execution,” Kelly Francis, founder and president of Performance Solutions Ltd, said. “There’s a very thin line between a useless check box exercise and something constructive with tangibles that can be acted upon.

“There’s so many areas where it can fall down and nothing is done. The problem is the lack of use of the information. Either employees or managers haven’t communicated all year long. No one should come out of a review session surprised by the content unless they are pleasantly surprised.”

Instead, Ms Francis believes the “big, annual summit meeting” should be broken down into more regular, real-time meetings.

“I think it would be more relevant, actionable and reasonable if shorter reviews were done more regularly,” she said.  “Around three times a year, or two at a minimum. Transparency and engagement are the two things that keep the employment ship sailing smoothly.”

It is this more regular, real-time feedback that seems to be the method of choice among more forward-thinking companies, along with extra support and training to help employees reach their goals.

This approach particularly resonates with the millennial generation. According to a research report published by Adobe, close to two thirds of millennials said they would switch jobs to a company with no formal performance review if pay and job level were the same.

LaKea Dill, talent manager at Deloitte Bermuda, explained that her firm has moved away from the traditional evaluation process and adopted instead the “Deloitte Global Performance Experience”, which is used in 98 per cent of the company’s offices around the world. Its objective is to accelerate performance not just manage it.

“Performance management processes need to provide continuous engagement that ultimately treats employees as consumers,” she said. “By removing the traditional annual employee evaluation process, it uses data-driven metrics that are created by flexible goals and frequent, real-time interactions, coaching and performance feedback.”

Ms Dill also points to external research showing that 83 per cent of millennials are actively engaged when they believe their organisation fosters an inclusive culture.

The Deloitte process involves frequent, future-focused “check-ins”, which are conversations between team members and their direct supervisors to discuss near-term work and provide “real-time feedback”.

Deloitte Bermuda also provides Career Coaching sessions, has a “performance snapshot tool”, which is a team leader’s first-hand assessment of a team member’s performance at the current point in time, and takes “pulse surveys”, which are short engagement surveys designed to give the team leader insight into how the team is feeling about a project, the work, and their environment.

“Once we better understand our strengths and weaknesses we are more likely to succeed. When we have a sense of purpose and feel that we are making an impact that matters, loyalty and a strong work ethic is a natural result,” Ms Dill said.

This article was originally featured in the TOP TEN 2019 edition of the RG Business Magazine.

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