A Personal Note from Allison:
I work with a variety of employers across many different industries. With most of them, I have done a Human Resources Audit. This helps me figure out where they are in terms of the people-management side of their business. It also helps me customize my recommendations for them. One thing they all have in common (as I suspect most businesses today do) is that their employees are hungry for feedback! Everyone wants to know, “how am I doing?”, yet many employers don’t integrate performance management into the employee experience. Read on to see why, as a business owner, this is a key retention strategy.
We all want to know how we’re doing, don’t we? If we are doing well, it’s nice to receive the accolades. Alternatively, if we think we nailed something, then find out after that we totally missed the mark – we still want to know, so we don’t repeat the mistake. Or if we are in a new job, we need feedback to ensure we are fitting in with the role’s requirements and the new employer’s expectations.
Many companies still practice the art of the “Annual Performance Review”. This can be a very effective tool, as long this is not the only performance conversation they are having all year with their employees. To make any feedback meaningful to an employee, it must meet three criteria:
- Timely – feedback should be provided in real time. If you see an employee do something fantastic or make a huge mistake, don’t wait until their annual performance review to talk to them about it. If it was fantastic – celebrate it! At the time! If it needs correction – privately talk to the employee about why it needs correction. At the time. You do not want someone making the same mistake over and over just because no one took the time to tell them it was wrong.
- Don’t get personal – keep your feedback about the behaviour, not the person’s character. By focusing on the behaviour, you will help the employee learn and grow. If you focus on their character, they will become defensive and not hear a thing you say.
- Keep it relevant – stay focused on the issue at hand. Get their feedback on how they felt the matter was handled. Provide your insight. Ask them what they could do different next time. This is a great learning moment. Be sure to document the conversation, in the event you need to revisit it in the future.
Performance conversations that are only held once per year do little to help your employees learn and grow. If you wait for the annual conversation to discuss a concern over the employee’s behaviour from six months ago, it is way too late. They may have forgotten key details of this issue, and will not understand why you are bringing it up so late after the fact.
Monthly check-ins with employees are a great way to keep the performance conversation going. Book some time every month to meet with each of your employees to touch base and see how they are doing. Do they need help with anything? These do not need to be onerous, time-consuming meetings. Just a check-in. Sometimes they may turn into longer meetings, so be sure to allot enough time.
Don’t forget the spontaneous feedback moments. Celebrate the wins! Correct the mistakes. Help your employees learn and grow. These opportunities (yes, I call them “opportunities”) will go a great length to retaining your employees. Employees who know they can count on their manager/supervisor to provide them with timely, behaviour-based, and relevant feedback that will ultimately allow them to continue to learn and grow, are going to stick around. Make this part of your retention strategy.
I invite you to connect with me, to learn more on this topic, and how I can help you with Human Resources in your workplace.