Whether it’s a yearly performance check-up or touching base after a big job, reviewing your employee’s work is crucial to maintaining a high standard and helping them grow in the role.
And while the pressure is on your employee to demonstrate their competency, it’s also your responsibility to come prepared with important questions which will gauge their progress.
Before giving feedback, according to Small Fish’ Jon Dale, it’s important to get an understanding of how your employee feels in the job.
“Prepare questions in advance, send them to your employee and ask them to provide their answers in time for the review meeting,” says Dale.
“You [should] also spend some time answering the same question - how do you think they’re performing? In the review, you can both review their view and your view of how they’re doing.”
Dale suggests a list of questions for your review, that can help identify the employee’s needs, their own self-evaluation of their performance, as well as where they see themselves in the short and long term.
Dale suggests the following as a starting point for your discussion points:
“How do you think you’re going, generally, in your job?”
“What things do you think you do well?”
“What things don’t you think you do well or what could you get better at?”
“What do you need to work on to get better at them?”
“How could we help you get better at those things?”
“What training or support do you think you need to help you do your job better?”
“What are your hopes or ambitions for your job or career here?”
“What do you need to work on to help you realise those ambitions or progress your career?”
“How can we help you with that?”
“What feedback could you give me about my role here? What could I do better/how could we make it easier for you to do your job well?”
When you compare your employee’s self-reflection and your own views, “you get to see if you agree - if their self-assessment is honest or insightful or they don’t know what they’re doing well and not,” Dale continues.
“If they get it, you’ll agree, if not, you’ll have to correct their view, won’t you? Or agree to differ to come to some compromise or change your view.”
In your meeting, you can also note all the work they’ve done well, while putting in a plan to see them progress. Typically, your first conduct review will be a check-in, while your proceeding catch ups should be an opportunity to compare their work year on year.
Another important consideration is coming to an agreement on what needs to be done better and how your employee can improve the outlook of their career trajectory. Writing this down on paper gives you a reference point for your next catch up to see whether any challenges are being taken in their stride.
While feedback is important, Dale suggests steering away from a scoring system. “It’s likely to cause ill-feeling and negative comparison. We don’t give a score in our business,” he says. “If you feel the need, consider a - good, okay, need improvement scoring system.”
Finally, Dale reminds us that this isn’t an opportunity to point out flaws in your employee’s work.
“It should be a pleasant experience.” However, “If it’s not, if the employee is a poor performer and not trying to improve, you have to consider performance management, which is something else.”
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