Ask the Expert: “Should I stop doing annual reviews?”

EvanHackel_IMG#-58_largeweb_preview[1]_0.jpegDear Evan,

 

“I supervise two store managers in two locations. Since we talk every day anyway, do I still have to give them annual reviews?” -  Aryan, Connecticut

Dear Aryan,

Let me start by giving you two contradictory statements. I hate annual reviews and don't believe you should do them. But I also know that annual reviews are better than no reviews.

One of the most important things you can do in managing employees of any kind is to give constructive feedback and coaching. Most of the time this does not happen in the workplace. Feedback, generally speaking, is 90% negative in the workplace day to day. That makes the annual review tense and anxious for the employee and, for that matter, for the manager too. As compensation is normally tied to an annual review, that adds just more stress.

Furthermore, research shows the Millennial generation is looking for feedback on a regular basis. And Generation Z, I would assume, would want even more feedback than the older millennial generation does.

Instead of an annual review, I would recommend a monthly touch base with a manager, and a weekly touch base with the staff. The meetings should be short. I would ask the following questions:

Ask the manager every month:

  • How are you enjoying your job?
  • What are some of your achievements this month?
    • Look to share some additional achievements and reinforce the achievements that they have noticed.
  • What are some of the issues that you've had this month?
    • Congratulation them on noticing the issues and where appropriate, give them coaching.
  • How can I help you be more successful?
  • What are the key items you are focusing on for the upcoming month?
    • You can make suggestions on things to add or drop.
  • In your own words, what is the vision of the company and what do you do to help the company achieve it?

In touch base meetings with the manager, every quarter add these questions:

  • Where do you see your future with the company, and how can the company help you achieve it?
    • In many cases, people will not have long-term goals with the company and that is fine, as long as they are productive employees.
  • What kind of additional training or personal development do you need to achieve your goals?

Ask the staff every week:

  • How are you enjoying your job?
  • What are some of your achievements this month?
  • What are some of the issues that you've had this month?
  • How can I help you be more successful?

In touch base meetings with the staff every month, add these questions:

  • In your own words what is the vision of the company and what do you do to help the company achieve it?
  • Where do you see your future with the company, and how can the company help you achieve it? (Move to quarterly after you are comfortable you understand their goals.)
    • In many cases, people will not have long-term goals with the company and that is fine, as long as they are productive employees.

These simple touch base meetings are very effective, positive experiences that improve morale, retention, customer service and profitability.

Evan Hackel is CEO of Tortal Training, a leading training development company in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Principal and Founder of Ingage Consulting, a consulting firm in Woburn, Massachusetts. To learn more about Ingage Consulting and Evan’s book Ingaging Leadership, visit Ingage.net. Follow @ehackel.