Why Performance Reviews Are Now More Important to Do than Ever Before.
The need for employers to provide its employees with sincere, honest, frank and truthful performance reviews has reached new heights due primarily to the past fifty years of our schools, government (California passed a law on the topic in the 1980s), psychologists and parents pushing for higher self-esteem and everyone gets a trophy.
The result of this effort has been a disaster. For example, in several studies, it has been found, that on average, eighty-six percent (86%) of employees say they are better than the average worker. While a mere one percent (1%) say they are less than average. Just think about that for a second.
What is happening is two-fold. First, we have people with inflated views of themselves who truly believe they are capable of doing far more things than they truly are, and many of the things they are currently doing, they are not doing well, but believe they are.
Secondly, we have people with self-serving attributes who make excuses and blame others for their failures because they again believe it could not possibly be due to their own inadequacies, since they really don’t have any.
A sincere, truthful, honest, frank and genuine performance review/employee evaluation is the company’s moment when it can force an employee to discern his or her realities. Why is this so important? Because a person with an inflated view of them-self is not likely to believe they need to improve. They already believe they are Great, so what’s the need?!? In the words of Dirty Harry, “A man’s gotta know his limitations.” Only, those types of people are becoming fewer and fewer and more difficult to find, especially among the younger employees. When you give this matter further thought, the realization sets in that it is not the fault of the younger generation, but the fault of the system. They have been brainwashed to believe their own press clippings that never existed in the first place.
It doesn’t end there, either. Most employees, especially the higher level ones, will find themselves on a team throughout the course of a year. Those with an inflated, overly positive view of themselves join the team already believing they are better than the average person on the team and therefore will contribute more and be responsible more for the team’s success than anyone else on the team. But, should the group fail, the reason for the failure most assuredly could not have been on them, because they are so good at what they do. Now imagine you have assembled a team of five, six or even twelve employees, and all of them have this overly positive view of themselves. You don’t have a team, you have a mess!
The trend in business today seems to be anti-performance reviews because they take so long to do and always seem so ineffective. One, they should take long to do because the health and well being of both the company and your employee is at stake. You damn well better put the time and effort into the evaluation. Two, your frank, honest and fair evaluation of an employee is your only hope of getting them to see reality and wake up to the truth.
Below are four essential steps every business must take in dealing with its employees:
Four Steps to Success:
1. Create Job Descriptions so people know what the job is and what the job calls for.
Keep in mind that if the work needed to be done exceeds the capabilities of the person assigned to it, we only create frustration and anxiety within the person. On the flip side, if the work needed to be done is far below the capabilities of the person assigned to it, we will only create Boredom.
Create critical responsibility statements within the job description for each employee that guides the work the employee does, then tie the responsibility tightly to a measurable objective.
Clarity and accountability are critical. You can’t hit a target you can’t see.
2. Create an Employee Matrix to determine what each person’s abilities are and at what level. There is always a delta between what a person must do and what a person is capable of doing. The Matrix allows us to see that.
Each employee must have the skills to accomplish his or her job, which then form objective measures to evaluate individual performance. It is up to each department to determine the specific skills required for the specific job being done. Someone in the warehouse, for example, would need different skills than an outside sales person, or a machine operator. The point here is that if everyone knows on what it is they will be measured and know by when they have to deliver on those measures, you have just increased the chances that they will succeed. And, as you review them, have them review themselves based on the same criteria.
3. Create a Master, Craftsman, Apprentice program that establishes a career and educational path for your people and allows us to not just set Performance Goals, but to set Learning Goals for our people.
By regularly assessing employees’ skills and whether or not they’re delivering on strategic goals, both you and the employee know where improvement is needed. Only there needs to be a company-wide commitment to training, mentoring, learning, growing, developing, educating and teaching as a key core value that is looked upon by the company as an investment in, not only its people but its future.
In addition, you may also learn that someone would be better suited to a different task in the organization.
4. Be accurate, honest, thorough and timely in your employee evaluations. Not being truthful with an employee helps neither the person nor the company.
Providing employees with consistent, effective and honest feedback is what often distinguishes good companies from great companies.
Appraisals should be driven by a desire to improve employees’ performance, not to stress them out or break them down.
By communicating the company’s and each department’s goals, it allows your employees to see the correlation between the job they do and the company’s performance.
Be certain that the feedback given to the employee is clear and constructive. Not demeaning and destructive. Use the evaluation to teach, grow and encourage the employee being truthful with the facts. Use the evaluation process to reinforce the message: Your Job Matters!
Recommended Areas for Review:
Individual Performance Evaluation:
E/E (exceeds expectations) M/E (meets expectations) N/I (needs improvement)
a. Are confident in their abilities
b. Willing to take a leadership role
c. Has a clear understanding of the Big Picture and makes decisions accordingly
2. Situational Awareness
a. Understand their most valuable asset is time
b. Evaluates the situation and has contingency plans
c. Does not get surprised
d. Knows when to move a problem or issue higher or lower
e. Meets obligations
f. Manages task and time well
a. Able to analyze problems, formulate solutions and communicate goals.
b. Knows exactly who to call when support is needed.
c. Communicates well.
d. Is aware of every project for which they are responsible.
a. Is acutely aware of what needs to be done.
b. Identifies what needs to be done and makes it happen
c. Gets help if they can’t make it happen but regardless, will get it done.
5. Individual Achievement
a. Constantly seeks to improve.
b. Always looks for ways to improve how things are done.
c. Motivated to become an expert in their area.
d. Often has good ideas for improvement
e. Raises standards and improves performance
f. Takes ownership & accountability
g. Engages in teaching and learning
h. Continually improves
i. Job skills
j. Job knowledge
k. Efficiency at performing tasks and duties
n. Ability to meet demands put upon him or her
o. Ability to work under pressure
r. Willingness to take on more
t. Team Player
u. Contributes to company goals
v. Enjoys being challenged
a. Focuses on the needs of the company and department
b. Takes personal pride in achieving success.
c. Feels personally responsible for making things happen.
a. Listens first.
b. Keeps detailed records of communications.
c. Knows what was said and by whom.
d. Uses multiple media to clearly communicate ideas and solutions.
8. First Pass Yield
a. Produces error-free, quality work on time and exceeds expectations.
b. Ensures accuracy is maintained.
9. Customer Focus
a. Knows what the customer expects
b. Incorporates customer expectations into work
c. Seeks customer feedback
d. Displays a sense of urgency
e. Anticipates customer needs
f. Responds quickly to customer needs
a. Understands the systems and processes in place
b. Follows Procedures
c. Makes decisions based upon fact
d. Adds value, eliminates waste
e. Focuses on processes and doesn’t blame people
f. Continuously finds ways to improve how we do things
g. Overall judgment
h. Quality of work performed
i. Attention to Safety
a. Complies with all legal requirements and regulations
b. Continuously improves knowledge
c. Demonstrates respect for others and differences of opinion
d. Encourages different perspectives
a. Creates win/win situations
b. Solves problems jointly
c. Demonstrates open mindedness
d. Is effective as both a leader and follower
e. Ability to work well with others
f. Consideration of others
g. Seeks input from others
h. Shares information willingly
13. People Development (For Supervisors/Managers ONLY.)
a. Allows people to challenge decisions, policies and procedures
b. Allows people to take part in the decision making process
c. Utilizes talent well
d. Gives feedback, appraises and develops people
e. Creates an environment that fosters motivation and innovation
f. Recognizes and rewards strong performance
g. Deals effectively with poor performers
h. Consistently fair
i. Gets more out of his people than expected
j. Always learning new things
Today’s employees are coming to work with a self-serving bias unlike anything ever seen before. And that self-serving bias is causing them to see themselves not only being far better than they actually are, but overly inflating the truth about themselves and believing it. To throw out the performance review or employee evaluation now would be throwing the baby out with the bath water. Put the time and effort into the review and do the right thing.
Should you want to know more about this inflated, self-serving, overly positive view employees have of themselves, that seems to be reaching epidemic proportions for employers, I suggest you check out this extensive study that was done on it: