You can throw company happy hours, host team dinners, buy pinball machines and eliminate job titles all you want.
But once you put an employee in a performance review, there is a strict hierarchy of who reports to whom.
And that hierarchy is what makes it challenging to get good feedback: the employee knows you hold all the power at that moment
To review performance, review the mission
A performance review will never be a conversation-amongst-equals, exactly, but it can be a conversation.
The best performance review is one in which you give feedback to the employee, and you get a little feedback as well. Because conversations are always better than lectures. And they make for happy employees.
Make your mission statement the center of your conversation.
Remind yourselves of the underlying purpose of all of this work: to further the company mission.
This is your reference point and ensures your conversation stays on topic.
To review performance, review needs
But what is the one simple question that will transform your performance reviews?
It is this:
“What do you need to perform your job?”
This question does many things at once:
- It levels the field between you and your employee, recognizing that the relationship goes both ways
- It is specific, guiding the conversation to be constructive
- It gives your employee the permission to ask for change
- It shows you what is on their mind, and how they think about their job
And, once you are finished discussing their needs, you get to tell them what you need from them, to improve business performance.
Talk to your people: do they buy into your mission statement? Do they all agree on what they are working towards?
And if they aren’t sure, contact me for some internal training.