This year I was fortunate enough to receive the greatest compliment a manager can receive. When conducting a performance review, an employee said, “There are no surprises.” The review contained a mixture of things the employee was doing well and some things that needed improvement. It also contained a list of goals for the upcoming year.
An employee should not find out he or she is under performing in any particular area during a review. Any shortcomings should be addressed as they occur vs. waiting for a yearly review.
Here are some tips for being transparent with your employees:
1. Praise in public, criticize in private: Celebrate successes, recognize your team and make an effort to tell people you appreciate them and their work. When something does go wrong, talk about it in private.
2. Document, document, document: My team knows that I keep an H.R. documentation spreadsheet. I document both the good items like compliments from customers, exceptional teamwork, problem solving skills, etc. I also document the misses, such as tardiness, missed deadlines and incomplete work.
3. Conduct periodic reviews: I am required to meet with my team on a yearly basis. However, I have implemented quarterly reviews instead. This allows employees a chance to improve before the yearly review.
4. Ask the employees their goals: Find out what interests your employees and what would make their jobs better. Help them obtain training, skills or exposure to those areas.
5. Hold them accountable: Help your team meet their goals by periodically assessing where they are at and what they need to move forward.
It is not enough to say you have an “Open Door” policy. Prove it by talking with your team on a regular basis and give them the opportunity to share their thoughts or concerns. Then when it comes time for the review, there is no stress involved because everyone already knows where they stand.
For more tips on leadership strategy take a look at a previous blog, 10 Ways to Help Develop Employees.