Oscar Time!

February 19, 2013 — Leave a comment

It’s Oscar time! Get out the tuxedos and gowns! Roll out the red carpet! The envelope, please. And the winner is . . . 

Oscar Time! Performance Reviews

So far in our series we’ve been discussing the basics of how to be successful in your first year as a manager. We’ve talked about setting clear objectives, what comprises SMA2RT goals, how to conduct one-on-ones, and now we come to the very useful management tool of the performance review.

As the year wraps to a close – your manager or HR will probably ask you to write a written summary for each employee’s annual performance.

Do I hear groaning?

Maybe you’re thinking of how stressful some your own performance reviews have been. But let me offer a suggestion to lesson the pain. If you look at performance reviews in a certain way you can make them very useful and effective in your leadership toolbox. 

Think of performance reviews as your own Annual Oscar Awards Ceremony! It’s your chance to highlight the achievements of your team members and focus on areas for improvement. 

At first it may seem like drudgery. But if you’ve been diligent to take careful notes on all those one-on-ones you’ve been having throughout the year and using the objectives set at the beginning of the year to guide these discussions this should not be a big deal – you’ve already put in the sweat equity.

Remind your team members of  the purpose of a performance review: to give an evaluation of one’s performance over the past year. Is it Oscar-worthy or not? In management terms, it is to provide an accurate and full critique of objective completion.

Here is a suggested process in three steps for the performance review – get and review input from team member, the meeting itself, and document your conclusions.

Their Input

Ask the team member to provide input for the review.  Be specific and ask them to answer the following questions regarding each objective:

For all objectives

Summarize objective completion – include metrics when available.

For objectives that were on target

Have them diagnose the reasons why they met the objective – what was their success formula?  You will use this to reinforce the positive behavior.

Have them note any major roadblocks they had to overcome to obtain this goal.  Be specific on what they did to meet this objective in spite of the roadblock.

For objectives that were NOT on target

Have them diagnose the reasons why, i.e., conduct a root cause analysis. Have them document what they did throughout the year to get this objective back on target. If there were any obstacles that were beyond their control, discuss them.

Their own development plan

What have they learned or improved in that has enabled their success?

When you receive your employee’s input go over it and make notes on the areas you wish to discuss. Make notes as to your perspective on what they did well and how they did it – their action plan, what obstacles they overcame and anything they could have done better. 

The Meeting Itself

Review and discuss each objective and reach a shared view of full year accomplishments by going over your employee’s input as well as your evaluation.

Document the Results of the Meeting

For objectives that were on target

Metric achievement.
Success formula – what they did to drive success.
Roadblocks they encountered.
Action Plans to successfully mitigate those roadblocks.

For objects that are NOT on target

Metric achievement.
Reasons why.
Action they took to overcome any obstacles.
Suggestions for improvement next year.

Describe the employee’s development that enabled success.

Your Assignment This Week

Create the input document you will send to employees as the year wraps up.

How can you make your employee’s performance reviews feel like it’s Oscar Time?