Dear Aunty B,
I am in the middle of doing performance reviews for my top management team. It feels like we are just going through the motions as most of my team are Gen-Ys and regard them as a total waste of time.
I read that performance reviews are seen now as an alternative if you are not communicating regularly with your staff. Well I do. My top team are highly motivated and I communicate with them regularly on their performance.
And I also feel the whole process slows the company down – not contributes to its success.
Personally, I hate doing them. They take hours and then the five page report just gets shoved in a filing cabinet. What is their purpose? And is it a sin to dump them? When I mentioned dropping them to my accountant, she looked horrified.
Look, it’s your company so do want you like. But if I were you, I would take a different approach.
First of all, why do you need a five page report? Scrap that. Get it down to one page.
Second, treat employees differently. Those employees who are not performing need to clearly understand the goals of the job, what are the results of their success, how they will be measured and how their performance can be improved. They need a formal performance review. Poor performers can also be motivated by the process and find it useful. You might not, but your top team dealing with other employees might find them invaluable.
I also suggest you treat your highly-motivated top team differently. Use the performance review process to run through the strategic goals of the business and look at how each individual fits the future picture.
Work with them to see how they can further develop their skills and entrepreneur capacity which is so valuable to the company. Then record those goals so that these ambitious Gen-Ys feel they are fully focused on their future development.
Why do you need performance reviews?
It can be a good idea legally if people are not performing up to scratch. You have a record of poor performance and I am sure than once the Federal Government scraps unfair dismissal laws, performance reviews will be back in vogue again.
Performance reviews are like board minutes. They might appear a waste of time but they establish a discipline and show that the company understands corporate governance and best practice.
That can be an advantage if you sell the business or take on an investor.
And lastly, performance reviews are not about you – they are about the employee. It is a process whereby the employee is invited to open up and talk about their job and their future.
You only need to do them once a year. So take a deep breath and get your PA to start organising the interviews.
(Oh, and thanks for the offers to help out Confused from Richmond yesterday. We have forwarded on the emails.)
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