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Performance Review

Performance Review

Performance Review

The time has come for the annual employee review, where I seek to find out just how the ship is traveling.  

Strangely it is very difficult to get most of the staff to take these seriously enough that information can be extracted such that the management process can be improved. We have a general question air that has a few new and old questions each year. From this we have a review meeting. Generally most of the staff see this meeting more about how they can promote themselves rather than seeing it for the holistic ideal it is meant to be. Aka I always get poor answers about how they see the management traveling.

I am wondering if other companies are having better success in getting real information feedback from the staff? If so what process/medium do you use to get this information?

This year we are going to an online forum where half the review process will be completely anonymous in the hope that people are willing to be more open about.  


RE: Performance Review

Employees, particularly those who are not at any level of management, distrust management, so you are not likely to get any reasonable, tangible feedback.  It's not that they don't want to give it...they do.  They just don't trust how it will be used, and in particular, how it will be used AGAINST them.

Management questionaires, in my opinion, are a waste of time.  You'll get much better feedback from paying attention all the time and having cognitive conversation with people along the way...not just once a year in the review process....

Remember...the employees are at a distinct disadvantage in these exchanges...they do not know your motivation and do not trust that it is altruistic...nor do they feel that they can be candid without repercussion...that's just the way it is with management vs. non-management.

RE: Performance Review

The rules for every game invite gamesmanship.  A good review system accounts for this.

RE: Performance Review

Personally I have a pretty candid relationship with my higher ups so I feel pretty comfortable telling them where I think improvements can be made or what I see going wrong.  My boss and I have a level of trust where I can call out some bs that I see in the overall operations while he can tell me what I need to do better at.  It's unfortunate that I'm definitely in the minority though, even in my own company.

As for improving the general responses for the average workplace the anonymous format is a great idea to start dialogue and build up that level of trust.  For it to be effective the employees need to see results come out of their suggestions, whether this is carried out by actual visable actions or more often than not explaining why something had to be done a certain way... there has been a few times where I said something looks completely backwards but once I got the explanation it all made sense.

Nothing breeds employee apathy greater than the feeling of management treating them like mushrooms - keep them in the dark (don't openly discuss issues) and feed them shit (ie meaningless tasks that they feel will have no outcomes).  If the employees trust that what they say won't be used against them AND there will be actual results they'll provide good quality information, this does not happen overnight though and is part of the overall culture of the work environment.

If all else fails take the employees to a pub and buy the first couple rounds; it's amazing what can be found out when people are removed from the formal work atmosphere and given a chance to voice their opinions... at the very least they'll appreciate the beer.

RE: Performance Review

The "anonymous" suggestions don't always end up anonymous.  How do you make a suggestion when it will be obvious it came from a specific person (either via previous complaints of theirs, well-known mistakes, etc.)?

At my last company things had become so bad (employees going to the president expressing serious concerns of management's "I don't care if it takes 80 hours a week for months to finish it and we underpay you, just do it or else" attitude), they brought in one of those feel-good seminar types... you know, the roll-playing types.  What a complete waste of time.  A room full of engineers wasting an entire day or more on this touchy-feely stuff, and nothing really changed in the end.  They scheduled another get-together in a month or so, but they had laid off half of the engineering department in the meantime because money was tight.  Guess they should have saved the money spent on the seminar....

Dan - Owner

RE: Performance Review

An "annual" anything tends to be less effective than its "continual" counterpart. Instead of soliciting information once a year, it should be ongoing. People may have suggestions/feedback during the other 50 weeks, but may have forgottent them since. Also, Christmas is a busy time of year, and people's thoughts are on matters other than "management travelling".

If you talk to your people all the time, they will be more inclined to give you feedback. By collecting all the feedback throught the year, you will be better able to piece together the "bigger" picture that you seek.

"Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater."   
Albert Einstein
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RE: Performance Review

Thanks for the reply guys, we do monitor the group all year round and try to plug the holes as they become apparent. However our business management consultant tells us that employees like to have a formal process that can be used for the review of management, this seems to make them feel better, and will let the shy person open up.

We have decided to go to an anon web based survey, but this time have it as a multi-choice, and have given a stated intent of the survey at the start. and also have it held in Jan


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