The best companies are really good at giving team members regular, clear, actionable and developmental feedback. Ideally, the suggestions are offered as close to the time the observation is made as possible.
I have observed that many feedback forms companies use are potentially quite negative. Many people say their annual review is a negative experience, and I believe part of the reason is because of the forms.
I like to refer to a review as an “annual career development and planning session” (CDPS). Here are a few tips supervisors might want to keep in mind:
- Prepare, prepare, prepare.
- Make sure you spend the appropriate amount of time on the team members’ strengths and unique contributions. Write them down. The written word is powerful! (See my November 24, 2014 post.)
- Most CDPS meetings are with team members who are doing great, so please be positive and upbeat.
- The CDPS is a great time to re-recruit the team member. (More on this idea later.)
- Be very clear with any feedback and offer concrete, actionable developmental suggestions.
- Ask the team member for feedback. What are they observing and thinking?
- Thank the team members for their contributions to the company in the past year(s).
In a few situations, there will be a need to deliver a strong performance message (i.e. I am concerned that you haven’t made progress in XXXX). These sessions require special care and preparation. I recommend that, after your discussion, you ask the team member to prepare a summary of the needed performance change, listing specific dates for meeting their goals.
How do your team members feel about these annual sessions? Consider asking them.