The employee waits anxiously throughout the talk, nodding along, feeling defensive at some points and grateful in others, but just wanting notice of a raise and new work benefits. Few questions are asked by anyone present, and the idea of employee engagement or satisfaction doesn’t even arise. At the end of the meeting, the supervisor nods a goodbye, the employee thanks the director for her time, and everyone goes back to their routine.
That’s the typical process used in the traditional annual review, and if it looks at all like what you’re company is doing, you’re killing your business. Your company‘s success is highly tied to employee engagement and retention. You want motivated, satisfied employees who want to come to work and who have their career goals in place, goals they feel they can achieve inside your company’s walls. Evaluations that pit the supervisor against the employee don’t do that. In fact, they’re far more likely to do the opposite.
Traditional reviews put the two players, the supervisor, and the employee, at cross purposes. One wants to discuss what the other needs to do to improve performance and increase profits. The other wants to discuss compensation, PTO, and flexible working arrangements. Bringing them together to accomplish the goals of each party takes a shift in perspective.
Instead of viewing the supervisor-employee relationship as a hierarchy, think of it as a partnership. A partnership in which both parties consider the other to be an individual to complement not manages and in which accountability runs both ways.
Encouraging frequent discussions about team performance then is a good place to start. As is asking questions, especially, “How would you like to handle that?” and “What help do you need from me in order to accomplish X? and “Are you happy working here?”