Employee review is an important part of any boss-subordinate work culture and in the Indian context, it assumes even greater significance given the fact that Indians have are more sensitive when it comes to feedback and reviews. To be fair, each employee has his/her own growth trajectory as a worker. While some employees adjust to a new organization's ways and work culture faster, others may take a little longer to assimilate and deliver. At the same time, there may be a series of variables impacting the performance of each employee including right opportunities to prove their worth, supportive team members and appropriate mentoring. Often, lack of appropriate feedback and guidance on a daily basis also hampers the performance of some employees.
This brings us to the all important question of 'what is the purpose of a critical employee review'?
To put it succinctly, the objective of an employee review is to provide a constructive feedback to the employee, help her clearly understand the gaps she needs to bridge, and also provide a roadmap to make this possible. A review that just provides unilaterally negative feedback and criticism will only demoralize the employee without proving any constuctive outcome-oriented aid.
Regardless of the size of the organization or even the sector in which a company is operating, there are some dos-and-donts that are almost sacrosanct and should never be moved away from.
These reviews may done periodically and in a very formal manner or sometimes they may be done in a slightly informal manner, the basic idea should be to less critical and more impactful in getting your point across to the subordinate so as to have maximum results and not to offend the employee or to demoralize the junior.
Extreme care should be taken in delivering the message, whether it’s the Human Resource Manager who is reviewing or the immediate reporting authority. The boss should do his or her home work in terms of exact performance of the employee who is being reviewed and also what the exact work requirement was for that employee. A thorough understanding of the challenges that the employee may be facing to complete the work must be made so as to be less critical and more impactful. The idea behind the review should be to remove the obstacles that the employee might be facing and make sure that the priorities and skills of this employee are aligned with the team’s overall objectives.
Following are the tips which a boss can follow to be more impactful in ‘Critical Employee Review’
- The review should almost always be started with acknowledging the achievements of the employee in the recent past. Every employee will have some strengths and must have achieved some kind of workplace excellence. Starting with the acknowledgement of the same will help the employee in getting settled in the review meeting and, more importantly, taking the boss as a friend or someone who appreciates good work.
- Taking employee’s perspective constantly about various aspects of his or her roles and responsibilities is a must. Unless the employee will feel that he or she is being heard and understood, he or she will never be willing to listen or obey the boss. Taking the perspective makes the employee more amenable to bring about a change in him or her.
- A balance will be required between the most important areas of improvement and the not-so-important areas. This will help the employee to soak in everything better. If all the points are in descending order of importance, then the employee may even go in shut-off mode and may not even listen carefully what he or she is being told.
- Try not to become personal in the review. This has to be kept in mind throughout the conversation.
The employee must not feel that there is personal vendetta behind the Critical Review. A direct reference to behaviours and outcomes should be maintained.
- Recent showdown with the employee, if any, must be put behind. In no way can the boss colour his or her mind with what has happened with the employee and be vindictive.
- Don’t do all the talking yourself in giving the review. If you have less time that day, postpone the review for the next day but don’t make it one-sided conversation.
- Don’t let the employee feel that he or she is being micro-managed or that the employee is trying to kill his or her efforts towards innovation. If the employee is trying to achieve the end objective in an innovative way, try to understand his view and the innovative method that he or she is going to use. This will bring about the best in the employee towards the boss and, more importantly, towards the organization.
If these basic guidelines are maintained, it can improve the boss-subordinate relationship and boost the performance of the organization.