Performance reviews seem to be a challenge almost everywhere. Some managers simply don’t do them; some managers only go through the (obligatory) motion of completing the forms. Expectations can be unclear while the reviews themselves become more like a report card then something the associates participate in.
As managers we must decide that we are going to work on behalf of our associates in order to help them grow (and in order for them to help us grow).
This is Job No. 1 if you subscribe to The Service Profit Chain.
But why? What is the correlation between putting my associates 1st and achieving results? Why might satisfied associates be engaged and loyal associates?
Does your boss:
- challenge you
- provide you with opportunities
- solicit your input
- value your perspective
- encourage you
- provide relevant and timely feedback
- employ Personal and Team SWOT Analysis
- enable you
- believe in horizontal teams
- have knowledge to bestow upon you
- continuously grow and challenge his/herself
- effectively lead up
- have humility
- set measurable goals
- set clear expectations
- deliver on promises
- influence other teams
- challenge the status quo
- demonstrate commitment to your growth/training/education
- create a safe environment to challenge, question, explore
Does your boss do the right thing, or does s/he do things right?
- Do you trust that your boss will go to bat for you; that s/he will fight for you?
- Do you feel like you are empowered to solve problems, to innovate, to inspire and affect change?
- Do you believe you have a voice on your team?
- Does your boss push you to learn more about yourself and the world around you?
- Does your boss challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone in order to find out what you are capable of?
- Do you know what is expected of you, and what you can do to exceed expectations?
- Are you recognized for your contributions?
That’s what a satisfied associate feels like. Not a “happy” associate, but an engaged and vested, challenged and valued, “satisfied” associate. We are talking about creating a healthy, sustainable, innovative culture.
So, let me ask you, “What lengths you would go to for your leader, your team, and your organization if you could answer ‘Yes!’ to all of the above? What kind of pride might you take in the work you do and the results you deliver? When you talk to your customers, how much of your satisfaction do you think would carry over into those conversations? How willing would you be to refer your friends, family, and colleagues to work for your company?”
Think about it. Most of us are trained to accept whatever our manager du jour is dishing out. Even when we know we are working for someone of suspect skills we just keep plugging away – day in and day out.
And I am hear to say, “How terribly unfortunate for you and your manager.”
Each of us who have direct reports are but temporary custodians of the lives (and livelihood) of those who work for us. We have an opportunity with each and every associate to make an impact on the rest of their lives; to help them realize who and what they can become – and who and what they will not be so willing to settle for going forward.
This responsibility should not be taken lightly. You associate’s performance reviews should never – E V E R – be copy and pasted from the previous review; they should never be allowed to have but a single line of text for feedback OR expectations; and they should never be one-sided (your side). Finally, your performance reviews should never be comprised of low expectations, nor should you reward your associates for simply meeting expectations.
I know it feels nice (easy), but you really aren’t doing anyone any favors if you fall prey to this. Your associates cannot be lead to believe they bring more value than they do, and at the same time your company deserves to see evidence that the associates it invests in are growing in value with tenure.
If you aren’t doing these things for your associates, then you are slowly crippling your organization; like a cancer, you will bring it to its knees from the inside because its infrastructure will not be able to support it longterm.
Healthy. Sustainable. Innovative. That’s the culture we should aspire to.
It starts with Job No. 1: Your associates.