The Best Employee Planning and Review Approach I've Found
I've liked some of the tools I've experienced, but I can't recall a supervisor who did the performance planning and review/evaluation process in a constructive way. And unfortunately my experience is not unique.
I've used a process and tool with some success at a few different companies. I think I got the basic ideas from the book First, Break All The Rules. The authors, Buckingham and Coffman, talk about 4 keys of great managers:
- Select the person (select for talent, not simply experience, intelligence or determination)
- Set expectations (define the right outcomes, not the right steps)
- Motivate the person (focus on strengths not on weakness)
- Develop the person (find the right fit, not simply the next rung on the ladder)
- How would you describe success in your current role? How would you measure it?
- What do you do that makes you as good as you are?
- Which parts of your current role do you like the most?
- Which parts of your current role do you like the least?
- What is the perfect role for you and why?
- Hold quarterly planning and review sessions with each employee using this worksheet. I recommend using a Google Sheet or shared Excel Sheet or something similar that can be edited by both the supervisor and employee with version control and revision tracking. A planning period no longer than one quarter provides a horizon that allows the employee to think of goals that are realistic and achievable within her or his power.
- Schedule no less than one hour for the initial planning session. Explain to the employee that you'll be using the worksheet as the agenda for your 1-1 sessions during the coming quarter.
- Discuss the employee's plans for each of the sections in the worksheet:
- Work to get done (projects, deliverables, tasks)
- Things to learn or get better at (knowledge and skills)
- Relationships to develop or strengthen
- I like the CLEAR principles for goals:
- Collaborative - support team achievement over individual
- Limited - scope and duration should fit within the planning period, so work can reach a state of "done" not just "in progress"
- Emotional - or "engaging" so the employee feels attachment and commitment to it
- Appreciable - break larger goals into smaller goals; allow the employee to feel a sense of accomplishment in each 1-1 session during the period
- Refinable - give both the supervisor and employee permission to refine goals during the period. Nothing kills motivation and morale more than holding an employee to a goal that is no longer relevant, valuable or achievable for reasons beyond his or her control, just because it was written down at some point.