Spur continuous improvement
by Amy Beth Miller, editor, Communication Briefings
Every day can present an opportunity to improve team members’ performance, and many of you are missing it.
Only 20% of the readers who responded to our most recent poll say they discuss performance with team members daily, and an equal number do it weekly. A third of the respondents say they discuss performance monthly. But 13% still rely on annual reviews, and an equal number discuss performance only quarterly.
Here are some ways to increase the amount of feedback you’re offering employees:
- Walk around and talk daily. Make it a habit to set aside time each day to visit your team’s work area and chat with people about what they are working on. Ask about their challenges and successes so that you can coach and praise them.
- Discuss goals regularly. During team meetings, talk about team members’ goals, the progress they are making and how they can support one other. That will keep everyone focused on those goals. Another option: Schedule a 5- to 10-minute meeting once a week with each team member to discuss his or her work.
- Check in at milestones. Take time after key points in projects and other assignments to review the work, offer feedback and review their plans for the next step.
- Prep for success. When you make assignments, discuss how team members can best use their skills, and point out areas where they can make improvements.
When you coach and provide feedback daily, you show your interest in team members’ honing their skills. You will see improvement throughout the year, and you’ll catch any performance problems before they escalate into major issues.
Important: Keep a file of notes about your performance discussions with employees. That way, you will be ready for formal reviews or to back up any other actions you must take, such as terminating a poor performer who hasn’t responded to your efforts.
Quotes that inspire
Last month we shared some inspirational quotes and invited you to share others.
Jean Farmer has this quote from Thomas Jefferson at the bottom of her email signature: “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” Because she is a communications specialist for the Virginia lottery, the quote is particularly appropriate!
A reader named Yoginder shared this motivational quote:
“A great deal of talent is lost in the world for the want of a little courage. Every day sends to their graves a number of obscure men who have only remained in obscurity because their timidity has prevented them from making a first effort; and who, if they could have been induced to begin, would in all probability have gone great lengths in the career of fame. The fact is, that to do anything in this world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can. It will not do to be perpetually calculating risks and adjusting nice chances; it did very well before the flood, when a man could consult his friends upon an intended publication for a hundred and fifty years, and then live to see his success afterward; but at present a man waits, and doubts, and consults his brother and his particular friends, till one fine day he finds that he is sixty years of age; that he has lost so much in consulting his first cousins and particular friends that he has no more time to follow their advice.” —Sydney Smith.
The Complete Performance Review Toolkit
It’s that time again … your palms sweat … your stomach is in knots … it’s time for the dreaded performance review.
But wait, it doesn’t have to be that way!
The Complete Performance Review Toolkit has the training and the ready-to-use forms that will make your reviews hassle free and turn them into comfortable meetings that will motivate your employees and improve their performance all year long.
What it does:
- Trains managers to give properly structured performance reviews, which makes the reviews easier on your managers and improves their effectiveness.
- Gets managers to properly document the evaluation, which keeps information available to future managers and helps avoid problems down the road.
- Improves productivity by keeping staff working toward the organization’s objectives.
- Decreases turnover, saving time and money.
- Strengthens communication between employees and their supervisors.
- Raises morale.
- Reduces legal problems.
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