The Verdict Is In: Performance Reviews Are Out

The Verdict Is In: Performance Reviews Are Out

Performance review cartoonIs it time to hop off the performance review train?

More and more companies are moving away from the traditional approach to performance management to one of continuous feedback. It’s partly a response to a growing desire among employees, particularly Millennials, for regular feedback and check-ins about performance. But it’s also due to the general consensus of managers and employees alike that the tried-and-true performance review process hasn’t really done the job it was intended to do.

Along with this shift, a whole host of new tools and systems for managing the feedback process has been introduced. In fact, we’ve been working with North Highland on integrating the HBDI® into a feedback app called Culr, which brings feedback and thinking styles together for an all-in-one approach to real-time development and performance management. 

As helpful as these new tools are, though, technology can’t do all the work for you. Effective feedback and performance review discussions still require the human-to-human connection of manager and employee. Regardless of what else changes, you can’t take the people out of the process.

So what has changed? In many ways, this is a move from performance management as an event and a “verdict” to continuous coaching, which is less about the past and more focused on the future and the necessary adjustments that need to be made along the way.

While sports is probably the first place your mind goes when you hear the word coach, there’s another definition that also illustrates the manager’s role pretty well. Think about the stage coach, which was a vehicle that moved a person from one station, or “stage,” to the next. When you’re providing feedback and having performance conversations with your employees, the ultimate goal is to help them get from where they are today to the next stage, whether that means new skills, next-level accomplishments, better decisions or other progress in their roles and their careers.

A Whole Brain® Performance Roadmap: The GROW Model

Before you can get that route up and running, though, you need a roadmap to follow. The GROW Model (developed by Alexander Graham and Sir John Whitmore) is a simple, four-step framework for structuring your performance coaching and feedback discussions to deliver a meaningful result.

Here’s how it works:

1. Establish the GOAL

  • With the employee, define and agree on the specific, measurable and realistic goal or outcome to be achieved.
  • If there’s a clearly identified performance shortfall you want to work on, be sure to provide objective data to support the need and the impact it’s having on the organization.
  • Always state the goals in the positive.

GROW model2. Examine the Current REALITY

  • Ask the employee to describe the current reality: What’s happening at the moment?
  • If this is a performance reinforcement session, what is the employee currently doing that’s so effective?
  • If there’s a performance issue, together with the employee, identify what the cause might be. Be sure to only focus on what’s within the employee’s control.
  • Focus on the behavior (what they say/do) and not on evaluating the result or actions.

3. Explore the OPTIONS

  • Once you have explored the reality, it’s time to explore what is possible.
  • Help your employee create a list of as many possibilities for action as you can.

4. Establish the WILL to Take Action

  • The final step involves having your employee commit to specific actions and, if appropriate, a time to review progress.
  • This step will help them establish their will and motivation to actually change or repeat the behavior.
  • Keep in mind, you can’t establish their will without developing a strong rapport with your employees. They need to know that, as their manager, you’ll provide them with all the support and encouragement they need to get where they want to go. Understanding how they think is a good starting point for finding ways to connect in a meaningful way with each of your employees.

It’s time to get off that traditional performance review train and get on a regular course for feedback and coaching. Today’s top talent is looking for the managers who will inspire their motivation and confidence to contribute fully to the organization’s mission—and who will help see them through to the next stage, wherever it may be.

Where will you help your employees go next?

Fostering a culture of meaningful feedback is one way to run your team like a brain trust. Next up: Take control of meetings with the ultimate meetings toolkit. You'll get worksheets, activities and tips for running meetings that people want to attend (Yes, you heard that right!). Click below to download your free toolkit!

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