Why Yearly Reviews Are Just A Part of What Your Employees Need
Yearly reviews sometimes are viewed with fear, anxiety, or a general sense of boredom. But keeping up with regular reviews is actually vital to you and your team! Yearly reviews are just part of the feedback equation that makes a team, and its members, successful and strong. If you're looking to give feedback to your employees in the new year, you should broaden your horizons with more than just a yearly check-in.
Before you even start to talk to your team, do a quick assessment of your company's communication on expectations. Do you have a full job description for the employee that has clear expectations of what success looks like in their role? If not, it's time to write one out! Setting expectations gives your employees the opportunity to gauge the success of their own work as they go. It also nips any communication issues in the bud, because you both know what is expected - and what it means to fall short. You can also reach out to the employee during this step for feedback. Talk to them about their view on what the goals of the position are, and what they see as the expectations for them. If you two have very different ideas of the position and what it means to be successful, it's the perfect time to have that conversation and work out any confusion. Communication is key in this step. Be open to what your employee is saying, and how it differs, if at all, from what you were expecting.
Once you have expectations, communicate them! Have a meeting with your employee to go over all of the information, and have a discussion about the position and performance. This is another great time to get feedback. Is there something they're interested in learning to expand their skills and benefit the company? Is there a part of the job that they need more training in in order to be successful? Maybe they're interested in taking over a new responsibility. Give your employees the opportunity to give feedback, ask questions, and offer suggestions.
While you should still plan to have an evaluation on the employee's anniversary, don't save all your feedback for the end of the year! If there's an issue, you need to communicate it as soon as possible. Being open about mistakes can nip miscommunication in the bud and cut down on issues caused by bad habits. If you wait too long to communicate a problem, it will only get worse. Don't only talk with your team when something is wrong though, give positive feedback throughout the year too! Positive reinforcement when an employee does something the right way can be just as important, if not more so, as correcting a mistake. it encourages confidence, better decision making, more autonomy, and a general increase in morale.
You may find that doing a review once a year is not frequent enough for your business. Many companies are starting to do biannual or even quarterly reviews that are shorter and more casual, rather than a long, formal once a year meeting. Doing shorter and more frequent reviews works well in smaller teams, especially with employees who are still new to their positions or in training. Additionally, some people thrive off of frequent feedback, which gives them more confidence in their work day-to-day. Talk with your employees to see what they would prefer. Everyone likes receiving feedback in a different way, and the format, frequency, and style in which you do so will vary greatly based on the individual.
Being open with your team, and making reviews a conversation rather than a one way road, will not only help your employees improve their work, it will also create a better relationship for them, you, and the company. As a manager, your responsibility is not just to improving productivity and results, but also to the people you work with and their experience day-to-day.