Nearly every week, I hear stories of major companies giving up their traditional performance review programs because they no longer provide the value they once did. The fact is, most traditional annual performance reviews are no longer effective and probably have not been effective for some time (if ever). Feedback from Deloitte and others encourages companies to abandon these outdated performance management models and replace them with more coaching and development.
I couldn’t agree more.
But there is a problem with this transition. Most employees tell us their managers do not have the necessary skills to provide ongoing feedback on their performance, and that they are often reluctant to have critical conversations about their performance expectations.
Our research shows that employees rarely or never receive coaching from their manager, and that a third of employees report that their manager rarely or never talks to them about their development needs. In many cases, managers are missing a golden opportunity to drive business performance.
Why is this important?
Research also shows that employees who get fair, accurate and immediate feedback from their managers are nearly 40 percent more productive than employees who don’t.
Think about that for a second. Imagine what managers can add to a company’s bottom line by consistently talking with, encouraging and providing feedback to their employees.
The move away from traditional review processes where performance conversations were at least required, or even forced, once a year creates an even higher premium on helping managers to be better at providing feedback. The trend toward the new reality of performance processes will only work if we do a better job of helping leaders to have better coaching and feedback skills.
Changing the feedback game
To help make the transition to the new performance reality work, managers need to be better at giving feedback. We believe there are five steps companies can take immediately to change the way they provide feedback to their employees:
1. Create an environment that encourages and rewards ongoing learning and development. This may require a cultural shift, but employees will benefit from ongoing feedback and will strive to develop even more skills.
2. As a manager, you have to take the time to get to know each employee and use that knowledge to shape what is required at work in order to drive greater results.
3. Create an atmosphere where employees feel free to share their experiences and learn from others about how to build on their skill sets.
4. Frame formal development in a relevant context so employees completely understand how mastering skills and learning processes and gaining knowledge will directly benefit them.
5. Look for opportunities for employees to learn new skills and develop more capabilities.
By coaching your managers to coach and develop their employees, the new performance process can help organizations be more effective and drive measurable performance improvement.