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You chair many Performance Review Meetings. What is the objective of these meetings? Measure past performance or improve future performance? What if you could design and run Performance Reviews to improve future performance? Think about it!

How do we redesign the process to catalyze future performance? The following steps would help you make a start. And after that, you can build on it.

Step 0: Decide to Change: Recognize that most people in most organizations hate performance review meetings. Employees because they may believe the assessment to be inaccurate or biased. Managers because they don’t want to be the bad guy giving feedback.

The default process in most reviews is to sandwich the negative feedback between positive comments, which makes it worse.

Step 1: Bring in Stakeholder Perspective: Introduce the idea of “Stakeholders in Performance”; the individual being reviewed, his / her immediate superior(s), upstream and downstream colleagues and of course you the CEO, are all legitimate stakeholders.
Step 2: Get the Employee to Lead the Discussions: Give both the lead and airtime to the employee. Get him/her make a presentation on “Who” his / her stakeholders were and “HOW” his / her performance impacted the stakeholders, both positively & negatively.
Step 3: Steer towards Future: Exercise your authority as the chair and steer the conversation towards future; how the employee can better serve stakeholders going forward and get him/her to commit to improvements he/she will bring about vis a vis each of the stakeholders.
Step 4: Customize Review Frequency: Review operational teams more frequently than staff teams. Schedule performance reviews of Project teams in sync with key milestones.

A useful by-product would be the separation of Performance Review from Compensation Review!

Note: It would be useful to cascade these ideas, through the hierarchy.

Go ahead. Renew the performance review process. Also, reap the benefits.

– by Ravi Santhanam for Zeus

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