Research has demonstrated that trusted feedback between managers and employees has one of the greatest impacts on employee engagement and motivation.
Whether it’s formal or informal, holding open, honest and meaningful conversations about performance and/or behaviour with your people should be frequent and ongoing throughout the year. Such conversations are really important in supporting continuous learning in the workplace and enable employees to understand how they are individually performing/behaving, where they excel and where they potentially need more support.
So, how can you have an effective conversation about performance? Best practice and our extensive experience would suggest there are several key elements that contribute:
- Timeliness of conversation (as soon as possible)
- Observation and supporting evidence
- Positive reinforcement
- Exchange of views
7 Golden Rules:
A performance conversation should be held as soon as possible after a performance issue is identified. Leaving the time gap too long can weaken the impact of having a discussion and could also send a message that the poor performance isn’t that much of a problem.
2.Observation and supporting evidence
Always prepare well before a performance discussion, making sure you have supporting evidence to support your points for discussion. Remember that personal observation is a bone-fide method of evidence.
Assess the individual’s performance/behaviour against agreed objectives and mutually agreed expectations is fundamental. Have they met targets? Have objectives been fulfilled? Does their behaviour and attitude align with your company values? Encourage them to talk about their strengths, weaknesses and achievements in relation to each objective.
Providing honest feedback about performance and progress is really important, not only for morale, but so individuals can learn, improve and continue to perform successfully in their role going forward. Make sure the conversation is two-way and ask them how they feel things are going.
Positive reinforcement is an essential. Emphasise what has been done well and provide only constructive criticism about what might be improved upon. Draw out the importance of how things are done, as well as what is done, and ensure that your effort is directed at value-adding activities.
6.Exchange of views
Allow time for mutual discussion to go over the points raised. This is also the perfect opportunity to ask the individual what support they may need from their managers and colleagues in order to successfully fulfil their role. Ask them about any training/development they need and get an idea about their future aspirations.
Jointly come to an understanding about what needs to be done to improve and sustain performance and overcome any issues raised in the course of the discussion. Having an engaged workforce is crucial to your company’s performance and these conversations really can have a positive effect on the overall success of your team.