For many companies, the answer to this question is a resounding, “Yes!”
The reason—their employees aren’t conducting self-reviews.
If this is the case at your company, your “comprehensive” feedback is not only incomplete but
it’s also causing you to miss out on a golden opportunity—the opportunity to drive truly targeted performance improvements, to raise employee engagement levels and to manage your talent more effectively.
Properly instituted and utilized, self-reviews impart all of these benefits to employers by helping them facilitate open communication between managers and direct reports; by encouraging personal growth in individuals at every level of the organization; and by making performance management a responsibility that managers and employees share.
Additionally, self-reviews help employers:
·better understand how employees “see” their performance and the contributions they’re making;
·address critical gaps between employee perception and reality;
·and determine whether performance goals are being communicated and understood clearly.
Employees themselves also benefit from self-reviews in a number of ways. For example, employees gain a greater sense of control over how they’re being judged and evaluated when they conduct self-reviews. This translates into greater satisfaction and commitment. Self-reviews also give employees the opportunity to:
·engage in a constructive dialogue with their managers in a setting that’s devoted entirely to them (as opposed to team and departmental meetings where performance may be discussed);
·highlight their significant achievements and how they’ve addressed past performance issues;
·ask for support, education or training to address skill gaps and weaknesses;
·and think/talk about their performance in a larger context (i.e., how they’re helping to achieve the goals of their teams, departments, functional areas and the organization at large).
Bottom line, all of this adds up to more engaged employees. And, as a growing body of research has shown, organizations that have high employee engagement are more profitable, more productive and enjoy greater customer loyalty.
So here are a few suggestions that can help your company make better use of self-reviews and reap the considerable rewards:
Have employees begin their annual reviews with self-reviews. This is a clear demonstration of your respect for employees and your interest in hearing what they think about their performance. Instead of feeling like a one-way critique, your performance reviews will take on the characteristics of a two-way exchange of ideas and information. And you’ll be able to address gaps in perceptions and expectations more proactively.
Encourage employees to focus on the aspects of their performance that are most important to them. Again, this gives you the opportunity to make sure there is agreement between what employees consider important and what management considers important. As a result, fewer disputes are likely to arise and differences of opinion can be discussed more easily.
Use self-reviews as a reason to hold more frequent (and less formal) performance appraisals. We’re always encouraging clients not to get stuck in the annual review cycle. Companies that hold reviews and performance-related discussions more often can make small, steady adjustments to performance and resolve problems before they become epidemic. Employees are far more open to small “course corrections” in their performance, and they won’t feel blindsided by negative feedback as they might if you wait an entire year to critique their work.
Have employees get personally involved in creating their own performance goals. Don’t just hand your employees their performance goals. Make them your partners in goal-setting and creating performance targets. Employees who have a direct hand in these activities embrace their goals and take ownership of their performance to a greater degree. It’s another way to build up their engagement—and to build a workforce that will give you a true competitive edge.
For other ideas on transforming your performance review process, download our white paper, “From Dread to Moving Ahead: Taking the Pain Out of Performance Management,” available here.