Monday, January 21, 2019

Management's Role and The Dreaded Performance Review

Management’s Role

In an earlier blog, I described the traits of supporting and non-supporting managers. Today’s blog repeats some of those supporting manager traits and augments them to further define management’s role in providing their reporting associates the necessities to succeed.
  • Disseminate company goals and objectives
  • Provide the tools to execute above
  • Mentor for growth
  • Enforce training:
    • Basic – business writing, presentation skills, communication, process. as needed
    • Advanced – career specific education
  • Exemplify and subject associate accountability
  • Motivate

The Dreaded Annual Performance Review

Everyone dreads writing evaluations, including your self-evaluation. Unfortunately, it is a requirement by most companies. The goal is to provide performance feedback and a guide for future improvement per the bullets listed above. But we all know from a company perspective, it’s to satisfy HR’s legal reasons in order to promote or dismiss an employee. From an associates’ perspective, they just want to know if they’re going to get a raise and how much.

Performance reviews necessity is not under debate, in the blog post. It is more about what the review contains. Typically, reviews solely describe accomplishments related to associate's job description/responsibilities and/or level of competence. If we interject the Manager’s roles listed, I believe they should contain the associates’ strengths and capabilities, not just related to their job description, but to any area that can benefit the company. People possess variegated skills that include their current function, but many people can provide far more. A good manager will observe, obtain, discuss these additional skills and provide an avenue for the associate to exploit them. It is possible for these discovered existing associate attributes can be used in their current position or promoted to a new position. The associate gains the most valued trait – recognition, and eventually growth. The company wins by subscribing to my mantra, "if the associate grows, the company grows."

Now let’s talk about money. How do you determine the appropriate pay increase? Managers receive their allowable associate awards in two manners: 1) department lump sum to be distributed as the manager sees fit; 2) a percent allocated across all associates. Recently, the later has been between one and three percent. I don’t believe in a 1% raise. A 1% raise is gratuitous. Even 3% is an insult to a high performing associate.

My review approach – if an associate is preforming their job according to their job description, they are paid their standard wage. They have not increased their net worth to the company by just performing their established job responsibilities. Therefore, I see no purpose to increase they wage (the only exception is in a high inflationary economy, so they at least break even to the cost of living (I’m not cruel)). Now, take the complacent associate’s or associates’ allocated increase (say 1%) and add it to a high performer’s increase (4% or more). A high performer is someone going above and beyond their job description and performing the newly revealed additional skill sets. This tactic provides motivation to both the standard performer as an incentive to show more initiative and the exceptional performer, by being rewarded and encouraged to continue at a higher level.

Hopefully, this blog post will provide some direction for manager’s roles and where everybody gains a more relevant performance review.

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