The annual performance appraisal is an opportunity to enhance employee performance and create greater success for the company and the individual.
Start with vision:
It’s important to start with vision: the company’s and the employee’s. What is the company vision? The company vision should be compelling and known by staff. When staff don’t know the owner’s vision for the company it is hard for them to help move it forward. Having a clear and compelling vision that employees can buy into provides a foundation for success.
But what drives the individual isn’t the boss’ vision, the company’s vision, but their own compelling vision.
- Employees can embrace the company vision but …
- True success comes from within and from personal vision.
- Personal vision should be compelling and tied into the company vision.
- Do you know your employees’ dreams and visions for their lives and career?
Take time to create a vision:
If the employee hasn’t thought about their vision, take the time to create a vision with them. Does their vision, their passion tie into the company vision? Can you as the supervisor help the employee to achieve their vision? What if their vision is your job? Well, that’s great. As supervisors, managers and leaders part of our role is mentoring and developing our employees. It’s great to have employees that are motivated to learn and grow. It’s also great to have employees that know your job and can do it competently.
Compelling visions are personal, written in the present tense, as if … they are happening now, and point to an exciting future. Encourage your staff to write their own compelling vision and share it with you.
Our current appraisal framework:
Often the manager talks about issues that the employee didn’t know was coming. Today we are talking about how to reframe the experience for both the employee and the manager. With the manager as a coach and partner committed to the employee’s success the environment can shift. The goal is to reframe the experience, creating a positive, goal-oriented environment that thrives on success and enhancing performance. In working with many groups of people solving problems, when they focused on what was going well and built upon it they were more successful than when they worked on what the problems were that they were having and what they needed to improve. In focusing on solutions, they ultimately identified the things that needed improvement as well.
It’s important to recognize your feelings about performance appraisals and to imagine the employee’s perspective.
- History of being an uncomfortable experience.
- Reframe the experience and create a positive, goal-oriented environment that thrives on success, enhancing performance.
- An opportunity to tune into the person and find out what is going on with them.
- Create a plan for the upcoming year.
- Most individuals (most employees) want to be successful.
Use coaching skills to develop success and excellence:
Where are we at now? After you have created a compelling vision, find out where we are at right now. Using five key coaching questions you can quickly get to where the employee is at. In these questions you have the opportunity to create powerful positive energy, find out what the gaps are and what the resources needed are. In talking about what would be ideal you are also focusing a bit back on the vision, but you are also pointing in the direction that you need to go – so how do we get there?
When meeting with a staff member:
- Be present
- Tune into them and tune out everything else
- See their greatness
Use Five Coaching Questions:
- What are the positives?
- What makes the positives happen?
- What is it that would be ideal?
- What needs to improve?
- What resources do you need to succeed?
As the supervisor, I see my role as one of supporting my staff so that they can do their job. I’m their coach, their success partner and the person that is helping to get them the resources they need to do their job. As the director of an outdoor center, my job was to get the clients there, but it was also to make sure that our resources were there for the client; that we had the infrastructure we needed to provide the service, the ropes course, trained staff, food for meals, etc.
Create a plan for excellent performance:
You, the supervisor, become the partner or the coach – coaching for success. In creating a plan focused on success for the employee, the manager begins to shift the paradigm to one of employee and coach/partner. As supervisors, our role is to build successful teams and we have to have successful team members in order to do that. If we focus on creating success we are more likely to create it. Focus on the positive, the solutions. What’s going right, how do we create more of it? In working with teams I have found that when I focus on what they are doing well and how we do more of it – we build on our success.
When we create goals that are SMART, we can measure them, and track their progress. If goals are soft, not measurable, it becomes difficult to progress the plan or give any feedback. So, how do we make them measurable? Measurable is countable; how many, when, who?
- Goals tie into the company vision and the employees’ vision.
- Goals point to an exciting future.
- They are positive, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bounded.
Tips for setting goals:
- Start with the RESULT in mind.
- Set SMART goals.
- Make it easy to see the next steps.
SMART Goals have certain attributes that make them measurable. When you can measure the goal you then know if you are attaining it. Goals should be results or outcome oriented and not process oriented.
Has clear deliverables or results
Can be counted: How many? How much? Who?
Can be attained at least 80%
Important to the people you serve, your future viability and relevant to your vision and values.
Think big, but it’s a 12-month plan, an annual plan
A goal example could be that a sales staff member might have a sales goal of increasing personal sales by 20% during the year. As annual goals are typically big, it’s important to break them down into smaller steps. This sales goal can also be the foundation for creating a plan to accomplish the goal as follows:
- A certain number of cold calls
- A systematic follow-up plan for each lead
- Direct mail, advertising – what are the specifics that are going to create the success?
Build in accountability:
Building in accountability in your annual success plans is the key to success. How many performance appraisals have you had or have you done that didn’t get looked at until the next year?
You need to meet with people regularly and review the goals. It’s unfair to come at a staff person at the end of the year and say you didn’t accomplish what we outlined in your plan. Yes, you can accomplish some things just by writing down the goal, but the level of accomplishment is usually lower than what we want in our companies.
- The key to success is building in accountability through regular meetings, weekly or monthly.
- We often fall short on keeping a plan alive.
- Regular meetings that keep focus on the plan and keep it moving forward.
- Celebrate success, write down accomplishments, and build on success.
Meet with staff at least monthly and review the plan. Bringing out the plan and talking about it keeps it alive. If it is never mentioned it gives staff the impression that it wasn’t that important and they don’t need to work on the goals outlined. Remember, the goals outlined are focused on creating better results for the company. You want that. Focus on the plan. At the monthly meeting spend time to:
- Review the vision
- Review the accomplishments (what’s going right?)
- Review the goals
- Score each goal – give it a percentage; 60%, 85%
When a goal is falling short, use coaching skills to help figure out what the problem is and how to change it. Does the leadership need to shift to provide more supervision, training, and direction?
You are looking for success of at least 80%. If the person is in their own way, do they need to make a shift in their feelings, beliefs, paradigm, to move forward and get themselves out of the way? Are they choosing not to make the necessary shift? It’s an opportunity to talk about choices that we make. We each operate from a place of personal responsibility. We are responsible for ourselves, our actions.
- Measurable goals can be scored.
- Score the goals each month.
- If the goal is below 80% talk about what’s in the way. Is the individual in their own way?
- Go back to the five coaching questions.
Create a partnership:
The monthly review of the PLAN gives you the opportunity to really check-in with staff and support them in developing success. It also prevents the annual performance review dread. They know you are invested in their success as well as that of the company. This is powerful. It develops you as a leader and partner of the staff member and lets you know where the focus needs to be. It also creates a regular stream of communication – both ways that can only improve results. Use the five coaching questions:
- What’s going right?
- What makes it right?
- What’s the ideal, the vision?
- What’s not quite right now?
- What are the resources needed?
Coach them to succeed.
Handling poor performance:
I believe that coaching skills can help you as a supervisor create better success. When there is poor performance the coaching questions give you an opportunity to build success. But you have also built a framework for having real conversations. We are all adults, and we each have personal responsibility and make choices about our behaviour. If you do discipline or progressive discipline in your organization, you need to have a clear policy on it and employees need to be informed of the policy. They also need to know the expectations and job responsibilities. And with that foundation, believe you can have real conversations about their behaviour and choices and the position it puts you in. Your behaviour as a supervisor is a consequence of their behaviour.
I’ve had this conversation with staff in a union shop, in a supervisory session that involved poor performance. It went something like: Fred, you have great skills and talents that we see here, and you also know why we’re here – you didn’t show up for work and you didn’t call, it’s considered a no show/no call. It puts me in a position where I have to take action, and if it continues then I have to continue taking actions. You are responsible for you and you are making choices for how you handle your position.
And in having these conversations – it’s important to remember that our goal is success and the employee’s goal is to be successful also. Employee retention is important to everyone.
Go back to the coaching questions – it gets them talking about what is going right, what their vision for success is and what is in their way.
Help staff to identify limiting behaviours, how they are in their own way, and shift their paradigms to get out of the way.
To create the success you want, keep focused on your goals
Staying focused on your goals and those of your employees keeps the momentum going. As the supervisor, you can create a positive and encouraging environment and create a performance culture.
1. Empower your employees to shine by helping them own their gifts at work. As you interact with employees, see each one as unique and gifted, especially the star employees. Your role is to find their innate gifts—creativity, facilitating, listening, intelligence, intuiting, writing, leading, researching, teaching, developing, strategizing, motivating, evaluating, and so on. Work with your employees to identify their top two gifts and help bring them to the projects they are working on.
2. Identify exactly what tasks or responsibilities bring your top stars career fulfillment. Meet with your employees to identify the three aspects of their work they find most fulfilling. You want to understand not only what tasks but also which elements of the tasks and responsibilities are most satisfying. Next, help them bring more of this type of fulfilling work into each day. Spend time with your employees to understand the things, other than money, that fulfill them at work. Select two areas through which each employee can cultivate more fulfillment in their current job—mentoring relationships; freedom to create; making a contribution; learning and developing on the job; working with intelligent, creative, and passionate colleagues; participating in the organization’s direction and overall vision; or anything else you would like to add.
3. Encourage your employees to focus more on what’s right with their jobs and less on what’s wrong. Highlight the accomplishments of your employees and help them leverage their areas of success. Not only will this improve their profiles in the company and potentially lead to a promotion or a raise, but it will promote a positive view of themselves and their capabilities. Meet with every employee to discuss and review what is going right on the job. By not always focusing on what is wrong with their work and seeing it as a challenge, employees can focus on and appreciate the many opportunities for making their jobs work for them.
4. Communicate effectively for great relationships at work. Guide your employees to accept the co-workers who challenge them, helping them look for the positive instead of the negative in those people. They can learn to step back, detach from their own agenda and viewpoint, and look at the challenging co-worker with new eyes. This new viewpoint can occur when an employee tries to truly understand their co-workers, what they think and feel, and why they behave as they do. After stepping into others’ shoes and viewing things from their perspective, the question becomes: “How can I accept this individual’s imperfections and shortcomings as well as their strengths and talents?” Encourage managers and supervisors to be more accessible to their employees, especially the stars, so they can better ascertain their primary needs. This way your employees will feel that you genuinely care about them. They will feel listened to. This open communication allows employees to feel comfortable sharing what is on their minds. By responding to employee needs immediately and directly before they become real issues, you eliminate the danger that they will need to find another workplace to get those needs met.
5. Improve your employees’ morale by showing them how to work smarter instead of harder. Spend time with your employees and help them make a list of all their daily roles, responsibilities, tasks, and activities. Help them become aware of how they can simplify their workday: Do more, do it faster, work smarter, and be more fully committed. Then eliminate as much as possible from the list until it reaches a point at which they can’t do it any faster and smarter. Employers need to help their employees look at their entire worklife and all that it encompasses, and learn to simplify. When we don’t simplify, our lives become too complicated, and we become powerless. Help your employees prioritize their activities. Ask them to write down their most important tasks and then rank them in order of priority. If employees need help finding the most important tasks, have them ask themselves: If I could complete one activity/task today, what would it be? Is this activity the best use of my time, knowledge, creativity, and experience? Have them focus on the most important task until it is finished, then recheck the priority list and focus their efforts on the next most important activity.
6. Besides more money, offer quality life programs to help your employees maintain balance between professional and personal life. Help your employees create flexible time (flex-time) for work and their own personal well-being. Teach them how to create a working environment that brings their work and life together in proper balance. This can include making sure your employees have enough hours each week to enjoy non-work activities. Facilitate proper balance by helping employees understand how to use flex-time or other creative scheduling alternatives to spend more time on non-work activities that bring proper balance into their lives. Many employees have difficulty in properly balancing their lives because their worklife is so consuming. When employees begin to gain self-control and equanimity in their worklives, they will have made space for other parts of their lives. To create balance in their work/personal lives, you can help your employees to: keep their self-expectations and those of their manager at a reduced level; “under promise” and “over deliver”—promising far less than they know they can do or less than the person is asking them to do; learn to say no to nonessential tasks and to people who might be inappropriately monopolizing their time; take breaks throughout the day to revitalize themselves; realize the importance of not taking work home with them on a regular basis to separate their work life from their home life.
7. Ask employees to identify and focus on what is enjoyable. Have your employees get together to select and discuss the most enjoyable activity or project in their jobs. Then ask them to make a list of all the activities or projects they need to complete that day or the next. Have them select the one they find most enjoyable and begin the day working on that one. Once every couple of weeks, encourage your employees to select an “enjoyable” task as their focus for an entire day. Help your employees identify the work they find most enjoyable, those tasks that excite them or that they find themselves repeatedly drawn to doing. Once they have identified two elements that they enjoy, have them create new projects that incorporate those activities.
8. Improve your employees’ overall relationship with their jobs through active involvement and constant praise. Give your employees the opportunity to make a difference and become more actively involved in the organization by having them volunteer their time to support and help run some of the company’s internal functions and take part in off-site company volunteer efforts. People need to know that their efforts for the company are recognized. Lack of recognition for performance can cause a lack of involvement and even disengagement. You can greatly help your employees by encouraging them and showing them how to ask for positive feedback and recognition from their managers. They shouldn’t have to wait for their annual review to get positive feedback on the work they are doing. After all, you can’t be proud of yourself until somebody’s been proud of you.
9. Open your employees’ minds to the possibilities and reality of loving their work. Without a clear-cut understanding of what they have to do to advance or succeed, people quickly become de-motivated. Explain what’s required for your employees to move forward in the organization based on the company’s or department’s plans for the next one, three, and five years. Provide clear career paths to encourage employees to explore new career possibilities in-house so they can make a lateral shift within the company. A lateral move can help them enjoy their jobs and stay engaged. Help your employees discover new and exciting opportunities (new projects and new activities) that lie within their work that will bring them a greater sense of love for what they currently are doing.
10. Establish a mentoring or coaching program. Encourage your star employees to spend time mentoring other model co-workers who enjoy their jobs and are performing well. This allows your employees to observe, study, and shadow the person they most identify with so they begin to understand what they do that helps them enjoy their work so much. Designate senior employees who will act as impartial, unconditionally supportive guides who ask evocative questions to draw out your star’s wisdom.
It’s very common for organizations to look to the support of seasonal temporary workers to during peak production times. In fact, hiring seasonal workers on a temporary basis can be one of the best ways to realize a positive return on investment for your business because it’s less costly than hiring regular employees.
Each year, major retailers hire seasonal temps to help out during the holidays and support increased shopping demands. The biggest industries that use seasonal help are manufacturing, retail, hospitality, customer service, sales, and shipping and transportation. However, any company may choose to hire seasonal temps to cover summer vacations or maternity leaves for regular employees.
Seasonal assignments may last for a few days to a few months, depending on the need of each organization. During this time, it’s up to the company to provide training and supervision so that seasonal temps have the ability to be productive. There are some key ways that any business can get the most from their temporary seasonal staff.
- Create accurate seasonal job descriptions. Your first step in maximizing seasonal staff ROI is to write seasonal job descriptions that clearly spell out the tasks and responsibilities of each assignment. Your seasonal workforce may have limited time to get projects completed, so make sure they are reasonable given the scope of work.
- Provide training and resources to get the job done. Set up all seasonal work stations and systems in advance to make sure you get the more out of seasonal temps. Arrange for an orientation and training day, utilizing your seasoned employees as mentors to seasonal staffers. Give your seasonal workforce access to the information and resources to be successful.
- Set clear goals and deadlines for tasks and projects. Your seasonal workers can only accomplish what you expect if you communicate this to them. Provide seasonal temps with a list of tasks they are to complete, along with daily and weekly goals. Provide reasonable deadlines for getting things done.
- Give seasonal workers incentives to perform to highest standards. Seasonal workers often respond well to short-term incentives because they may not have access to the same benefits as your regular employees. Set fun contests and provide bonuses for top performers. Give seasonal workers incentives such as on-site lunches, wellness services, and discounts for merchandise.
- Treat seasonal workforce with respect and offer some permanent jobs. The reason why some individuals take on seasonal work is to prove their worth for future employment consideration. Remember to treat all seasonal workers with respect and appreciation, offering a few the opportunity to become permanent employees based on their performance. You can find out who may be interested in perm placement by talking with your staffing agency.
Seasonal workers can be a valuable way to stay on top of busy production periods and project demands. Remember to make the most of your seasonal staffers by giving them rewarding assignments and interesting tasks.
You have determined that a specific project or work in one of your departments could benefit by hiring a temporary rather than permanent employee. Follow this advice to increase efficiency and productivity.
First meet with managers and others who will be working directly with the temporary worker (temp) to determined required skills, duties, and responsibilities. Knowing these will help the agency you select to find the best person for you.
Work with an agency
When possible, contact agencies that specialize in your type of business to get the right person for the position.
Work with the agency to determine salary ranges. Because temps will be facing new environments and unusual challenges, experience is always desirable. This usually comes at a price, but is almost always worth it.
Orient the employee
Before the temp arrives, prepare an orientation guide to help get them up and running. include all the little things your regular employees have become used to, such such as working hours, check-in and check-out procedures, break and lunch schedules, safety regulations, names of managers and co-workers, and the names and contact information for direct supervisors, Take advantage of orientation brochures provided by the agency that assigned the temp: These often offer insightful suggestions for bringing temps up to speed quickly.
Do not leave the new worker alone the first morning, lest they become disoriented in their new environment. Assign a co-worker, preferably a long-time employee “mentor”, to give the temp someone to ask questions of and look to for input.
If your temp is required to operate equipment or to undertake specialized duties, make sure that a regular employee will be available right away to train or help them. Remember to plan and co-ordinate the schedules of all employees improved.
Set up lines of communication so the temp can get answers to questions quickly. Just because a temp doesn’t ask questions, don’t assume they are completely on top of the job. Have managers or supervisors contact temps frequently to monitor progress and to make sure the temp is not being overwhelmed. Temps often feel that much more is expected of them because of the short term of their employment to demand that a temp become completely competent in a week when a full-time employee takes several months.
Look at permanent possibilities
If permanent employment may be available to a temp, inform the agency at the start of your relationship. Some temps will be eager for the opportunity, while others will know that they can’t take advantage of such an offer. Talk with the temp when they arrive and set up parameters so they know exactly what they need to accomplish to be considered.
Bringing temps on board can be a great solution to your business for short-term projects, seasonal up-ticks in business, or a variety of other reasons. You never know: that temporary employee might turn into your next superstar!