Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lesson #9: Feedback is the Key to Developing All-Stars

Imagine if your pay raise each year depended on you improving your bowling score.  Do you think it would be possible to improve your score over time if you had to roll the ball under a curtain that hid the pins from view?  Would it really help if someone met once a year with you to update you on how many times you rolled a gutter ball?  Wouldn’t you feel powerless and frustrated in this situation?
In business, we cannot continue to expect our employees to improve their performance by meeting with them once a year, reminding them of everything we can think of that they did wrong the previous twelve months and telling them that they need to “do better next year”.  Faced with this, your employees are going to be as frustrated as if they were bowling under a curtain.  It’s not fair to them and, frankly, it’s not fair to your company either. 
Supervisors must be in constant communication with their employees on what they are doing right (so that these actions can be repeated) AND what they are not doing right (so that the employee can stop doing a task wrong as soon as possible).  To achieve measureable improvement all year long requires constant feedback, both positive and corrective.
Done well, the annual review process should really be a “no stress” composed of simply documenting at year end a conversation that has been occurring all year long. There should never be a surprise in someone’s annual evaluation.  If there is, the supervisor has not been properly doing their job.
Remove the curtain your employees face every day.  Let them see and understand the results of their actions.  Their performance will improve and your team will performance will also.  They deserve it.  You deserve it.  You company deserves it.