August 22, 2016
I've been coaching some executives about performance reviews and performance feedback lately. While many organizations are giving up performance reviews entirely, and I've written before about the dangers of not giving employees performance
feedback,, poor performance management skills continue to sink many ships.   
What surprises me is that even executives sometimes seem to ignore these functions, assuming that performance feedback is some kind of busywork that only matters to HR or legal.
So, if you're an executive or manager, why should you care? If you are coaching an executive or manager, how do you make them care? And, if you're an employee who hasn't received any performance feedback in years, how do you solicit the feedback you need and deserve?  
  • First, performance reviews - or documented performance feedback - are legal documents. They are the first things that any attorney will request in any kind of employment litigation, something that makes some managers want to run away from completing them but I believe, argues instead for the skillful training of managers on how to give feedback and how to document. If you have no such documentation, the employee's documentation will win the day -  and you can bet that they are keeping it!
  • Second, performance reviews and other performance feedback helps employees feel valued. It's easy for managers to forget that employees may be toiling away without realizing what their management thinks about their performance. A periodic "good job" or worse, silence, is not enough to make an employee assume that their performance is okay. An employee needs detailed examples about how their performance impacts the organization and what works or does not work. 
  • Third, performance feedback helps management understand what is working or not working about their own directives. It forces the manager to create a written dialogue with the employee and to understand how they communicate and what has been effective or ineffective about that communication. If your manager doesn't give you that kind of valuable feedback, you have every right to seek it out on your own. That conversation is difficult but necessary. 
What Should You Do?
Make sure that your managers and executives have been trained on how to give and document proper performance feedback, even if they don't use formal performance reviews. If you're an employee, don't be afraid to ask for performance feedback. Better to know what your manager really thinks than to find out when it's too late to change your behavior.

Did You Know?

All of our management classes include highly engaging and interactive training on how to give performance feedback that works, as well as how to document performance.  
 For more information, call or write us at: 303-216-1020 or [email protected]

Be sure to read Lynne's helpful books on how to handle tough conversations. 

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