Imagine, if you will, a football coach who takes notes all season long. He knows the abilities – and failings – of every player on the team. He often complains to his Athletic Director about all the mistakes that his players are making. “Why can’t they ever seem to get it right?” he laments. At the end of the season, he sits down with each one to tell them what they were doing wrong all season.
Seems a bit late, doesn’t it? He’s already lost every game! This seems like such a foolish way to coach a team, but many companies – and managers – operate in just such a fashion: waiting until the end of the year to give the required ritual of performance evaluations. Dreaded by managers and managed alike, this process (when it is done at all) is wasted on all parties most of the time.
In a well managed group, the manager (you, for example) has been coaching their team all year long. You’d be reinforcing the positive behaviors and correcting the negative behaviors immediately to better capitalize on everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. You’d be building each member of your team every day into a stronger, more cohesive unit.
Then when review time rolls around, your staff already knows your expectations and how they’re doing. If you’ve been riding them for months about the quantity of their output, it will come as no surprise to see this on their evaluation. If you’ve had a couple of sit-downs with someone to discuss their poor attitude, they won’t put up such a fight when they see their low scores. If you’ve been working with them for months on their skills and abilities and building them up… they’ll know where you’re coming from.
Consider all this as part of an employee recognition program to get the most use of your time.
It makes your own job easier to do these things throughout the year. Year-round coaching also ensures that the quality and quantity of everyone’s work stays at a high level.
It also makes your own job easier when annual evaluations are due, and no one is surprised by their scores. One of the first things I learned in management was that a person should never be surprised in a review. Good managers have been talking with their staff all along.