Pennsylvania Takes on UI Solvency with New Legislation

As a supervisor, what’s your least preferred responsibility? If you said goal setting and performance management, you aren’t alone.

As an employee, what’s your least preferred activity? Again—you’re not alone.

Often performance evaluations are cited as the most broken and least preferred organizational practice, but everyone knows goal setting and performance management are important. So how can you help your direct reports succeed?

  1. Be upfront and honest. Communicate openly and often with your employees. Most of the people working with you want to do well throughout the year; they want to help your organization succeed. So give them the opportunity to do so! If Steve isn’t taking process “A” as seriously as you need him to, or if Becky needs to dial back on “X,” tell them (as nicely and appropriately as possible). More often than not, you’ll find that they are not only open to, but eager for, feedback about their work.
  2. Set stretch goals throughout the year—not just during the annual review process. Setting stretch goals throughout the year helps your employees scale mountains one step at a time. In conjunction with smaller goals, stretch goals give employees the opportunity to take chances within their position and challenge themselves as employees. Best of all, stretch goals give your employees the opportunity to fail gracefully. Because you’ve encouraged them to do something you acknowledge is outside of their comfort level, most employees recognize that you’re challenging them to jump, but not taking away the netting if they fall. It also gives you the opportunity to reward and recognize successful work during the annual review.
  3. Be agile and expect goals to change throughout the coming months. One of the most dreaded things about performance reviews is that they’re structured to make an employee accountable for specific things throughout the coming year. But, for most organizations, goals are constantly changing, which can make it difficult to keep track of and follow through with performance measures that have become outdated.
  4. Trust your team. Remember: someone at your organization hired each and every one of your employees because they felt that the employee demonstrated the drive, talent, and promise you need to fulfill your mission. If you can’t see why an employee was hired, give them the opportunity to tell you why they think they were hired.

Schedule a time to find out why they think they were hired and talk through the ways your mission has changed since then. Chances are they know your organization and its mission well enough that they aren’t someone you want to slip away, so find out if there is another way they can help your team succeed.

What would you add? Are there other ways that you help employees and managers collaboratively work together to make performance evaluations more productive and enjoyable?

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06/20/12 8:15 PM

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