Post by
Joy Van Skiver, President
The POWERformance Group

Looking Ahead in Performance Reviews

Have you ever met anyone who enjoys writing performance reviews?


Think about your own experiences—have you ever looked forward to receiving a review?


If “No” is your answer to those two questions, here’s some good news—


Companies are reinventing performance reviews! Not just because everybody hates them, but because studies show they’re not producing a strong enough return on investment for all the time they take.


It’s time for a new slant.


Traditional performance reviews focus on the past—activities completed, goals reached, milestones achieved. New performance reviews look ahead, not back. They motivate instead of deflate.


New reviews present opportunities to coach in writing as a follow up to meaningful performance conversations.


The managers I meet in my POWERformance™ training sessions are eager—even hungry—to learn how to coach in writing. Focusing on how someone performed, rather than what someone did is a big step in the right direction.


Traditional performance reviews focused on activities, like this:


https://static.wixstatic.com/media/63e506_e07a7ec7d36d44fd8eb6593c512cafe4~mv2.jpg/v1/fill/w_631,h_189,al_c,q_80,usm_0.66_1.00_0.01/63e506_e07a7ec7d36d44fd8eb6593c512cafe4~mv2.webp


What’s Alan going to remember when he reads those comments? With the focus on what he did, rather than what he needs to do, the overall tone comes across as negative. No wonder people have dreaded performance reviews for years!


Look at a positive slant with a coaching perspective that looks ahead:


https://static.wixstatic.com/media/63e506_14990ba065a7421ca36c45a8ae566092~mv2.jpg/v1/fill/w_631,h_189,al_c,q_80,usm_0.66_1.00_0.01/63e506_14990ba065a7421ca36c45a8ae566092~mv2.webp


In this case, the manager analyzed how Alan performed and turned that how into coaching. The emphasis is not just “he did this, he did this, he did this.” The emphasis is quite simply: “Since this is how you performed, let’s take that performance to the next level.”


Without realizing it, managers fill their reviews with vague generalities that don’t help anyone improve.


https://static.wixstatic.com/media/63e506_5e350eae08dc493ab00c791526ca2e2f~mv2.jpg/v1/fill/w_631,h_142,al_c,q_80,usm_0.66_1.00_0.01/63e506_5e350eae08dc493ab00c791526ca2e2f~mv2.webp


If you were Rachonne, how would you react to that feedback? It’s quite likely that Rachonne’s behavior will not change as a result of hearing this. She may feel that her manager is just finding something negative to say.


Instead of being vague, Rachonne’s manager could have taken the opportunity to coach, to motivate her—like this:


https://static.wixstatic.com/media/63e506_d45f9729e296402da21b6350a4165e90~mv2.jpg/v1/fill/w_631,h_236,al_c,q_80,usm_0.66_1.00_0.01/63e506_d45f9729e296402da21b6350a4165e90~mv2.webp


The likely outcome of this coaching in writing is that Rachonne will understand what she can do to improve her performance and will act on that understanding. She probably will feel like her manager cares about her success.


Incorporating more coaching and a forward look in performance reviews—even if a company hasn’t announced an official change to a new approach—recharges managers and their direct reports, and that energy produces results.

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