By: Mike Jacks, TSO Region Manager
If you genuinely want to improve your business volume and profitability, the answer is in your team members’ training, development, and retention.
Achieve the best processes through regular guidance and direction. Many of you now have weekly staff meetings, and we can agree that those are vital to keeping people on track and knowledgeable about the expectations you have of them. If you have weekly staff meetings, I encourage you to continue to have them and look for ways to improve them.
The best and most effective way to grow your team members is through regular performance evaluations. For some managers, the thought of doing an honest performance evaluation is daunting. Many emotions go into a performance evaluation both by the person doing the review and receiving the evaluation.
The good news is that there is a way to make these discussions much less uncomfortable and make more significant improvements to performance and reduce staff turnover!
Step 1. Create a job description for each position you have in your office. Be specific and build your job description using these three factors:
- The primary purpose of the job
- Primary responsibilities of the job
- Knowledge, skills, and experience required to perform the job
Step 2. Create your performance evaluations based upon your Job Descriptions. There should be a direct correlation between the job description and the performance that you are evaluating. Let’s suppose the team member is not trained yet in a specific area of the job description. In that case, the manager issuing the evaluation should not hold it against the employee at evaluation time. The manager will open the door to discussions on setting specific team members’ particular goals to be trained in those untrained areas.
Step 3. Provide a Performance Evaluation every 90 days. I know I just lost a lot of you on that one, as many leaders have to force themselves to do an annual evaluation. Many times leaders think they are too busy to perform performance evaluations.
How many times have we all seen performance evaluations delayed or not provided at all? And finally, why would I say to do a performance evaluation every 90 days knowing “we are too busy” or “it can wait until it is time to do an annual evaluation”? Here is why 90 Day performance evaluations will make your life better.
Performance Evaluations are an investment in your people. The fact is people are going to respond better if they know you are reviewing their performance regularly and you are doing so, intending to help them and not judging them.
Quarterly performance does not mean the team member will receive additional compensation. It does place them in a better position to receive an annual increase because you are prepping them every day on what the management team expects of them and where they stand in their performance level. Annual performance evaluations are often hard for leaders because they have to address less than stellar performance that has gone on over a whole year.
How many times have you seen team members shocked and surprised because they thought they were doing much better than they were. The performance evaluation has become a club, especially if the management team is providing no or little annual increase because performance does not meet expectations.
Ways To Maximize the Benefits of a Performance Evaluation:
Always have the person receiving the performance evaluation complete their evaluation before your meeting. You will often find that an honest team member will be harder on themselves than you are, and your performance evaluation will build their ego and self-esteem.
Be honest but mindful in those areas where the team member does not achieve the level of performance you desire. A performance evaluation should NEVER be a club used to beat someone down.
If you have to bring under-performance to the team member’s attention, be prepared to provide an action plan to bring the team member up to expectations.
If a team member refuses to make adjustments in their performance in a particular area, then you now have documentation that you have tried to provide guidance and direction.
Ensure the team member has an opportunity to respond to their performance evaluation to express their feelings about the performance evaluation. Allowing open communications can prevent hard feelings from being taken out to the floor where you might have to deal with it there.
Always use a performance evaluation as a positive tool to motivate and make the team member feel that you have their best interest in mind. There should NEVER be surprises on an annual performance evaluation.
Set a date on your calendar to provide the team member with a blank copy of the performance evaluation and complete your assessment well before the date the assessment is due.
Conduct ALL performance evaluations promptly. If you put it on your schedule, it tells the team member that this is important to you and that THEY are important to you.
You will be happy that you are being proactive and helping your team members, and they will appreciate it also!