As a manager throughout the year in your one on one conversations, talk about wins, talk about highlights, talk about the things that are going well so your team member sees that you're actually already aware of a lot of it and the performance review is just a formality.
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Welcome back to the show. Today we're going to talk about performance management, really measuring success. And this is a topic that applies whether you are working in the corporate world and you have a team or you're a small business owner or you're even a solo partner managing a few contractors or vendors.
Okay, we always have to know what success looks like. And this is something that I worked a lot on when I was in the corporate world, on coaching people around how to represent their work effectively in a performance review, in coaching managers around how to give feedback effectively in performance review conversations.
It's something I do tons of workshops around right now. And so if you are struggling around how to deal with performance reviews in general, Hit me up because I love to talk about it, love to support, and today I'm going to offer three things to think about when measuring performance, really to get you started.
To think about this conversation today, I want us to anchor into what often comes up for our employees. And what I often hear is people saying, I don't know if I'm doing a good job, I don't know where I stand, or I don't really know what the criteria is to be promoted. It feels like a moving target. I don't know when I get a raise or a bonus.
Okay. These are the kinds of things our employees are thinking. And I always tell my small business owner clients, if someone's coming up to you and asking when they get a raise, that is not the first time they thought of that question. They have been thinking about that for months, wondering, and they just mustered up the courage to ask you.
That means you really want to make sure your team members aren't waiting, uneasy, feeling these things, thinking these things that they don't really know how to ask about. So we want to share this up front. We want to talk about performance expectations, things that have to do with pay, advancement, all the things.
I know when I was in the corporate world wondering, am I ready for promotion? Can I ask my manager again about it? I asked him last week. Can I ask him this week? You know, all this anxiety comes up. And as managers, we can alleviate all of this anxiety by talking about performance proactively saying to our team members, Hey, I want to make sure that we're all on the same page around what success looks like.
Here's the criteria for getting promoted. Here's where you stand. Always really practicing recognition. I did a podcast episode about that. I will include that in the show notes. Really making sure people feel like, Okay, I know where I stand. I know what I have to improve on. I've gotten that feedback. Okay, that's why I talk about feedback all the time.
You have those tools. Now you want to bring it all together with the performance conversation. And whether you are operating within an established performance system or you're thinking about how to set one up for your own company, There are three things I really, really want to impart on you today.
Number one, whatever system that you use, it has got to incentivize the behavior you want to reinforce. If you want people to be collaborative, you can't reward them only for their individual accomplishments. If you want them to operate in integrity, you can't set targets that are unattainable without operating unethically.
I've been on teams before where they talk about how important product quality is and customer service, but they only reward people on new work, on launches. And, and, and this starts to show people, well, if I work on maintenance work, I'm not going to get promoted. So I should just work on the new things.
And that is because the system is incentivizing something else. Not what it's saying. Okay. If you really value something, that has to be the thing you reward. If you want to have a strong team culture, if you want to have inclusion as a value, if you want to see these things show up, that has to be a part of how people are evaluated.
Second thing, we have to set expectations around what we want to see. This is a no brainer, but this is something that we don't always think about. Okay, and this is a little bit more in the expectations around behavior. For example, a lot of times we have our job description and we're doing those things, but that's not enough to be exceeding expectations or crushing it, right?
We always know there's a little bit something extra. What is that above and beyond? That's what you want to set expectations around. Is it only just going above and beyond the metrics? Maybe. But is it also taking an active role in building a great team culture? Is it taking an active role in growing the business?
Is it really engaging in professional development? Is it, you know, influencing stakeholders or, or clients or, or cross functional team members? These things that you really want to see in order for that person to grow that maybe you haven't said before, those things you have to say them because we have to know what is it that's going to make a successful.
And this is a part of setting expectations with our team members around what a good job looks like, the kinds of things that we can get feedback on, the kinds of things we want to recognize them about. But if they don't know what those things are, then how are they going to deliver on those? And this is the kind of thing when you think to yourself, the question, I wish they would just that's an expectation to outline.
That's something to make clear. And then they will just. If you are thinking that more than once a week, I wish people would just, or this would be so much better, or they should have just spell it out, let them know, and then they will do it. Third thing, make it simple and lightweight. I'm not exaggerating here.
I coached dozens and dozens and dozens of people every six months before our semi annual performance review in the last company I was at. It broke my heart that people were so stressed about it that they felt like they weren't accurately representing their work in their write ups about their work and that they, they were so worried about this, that I would stay up late at night, checking with folks on the weekend, like all, all hours of the day, helping people write their performance reviews.
So they'd be less stressed about it. But why were they stressed in the first place? Because we had a super complicated system that people believed whatever was written down on that paper was going to make or break their career. Now, this is something managers could have done a better job at explaining wasn't even the case, but the whole point is it wasn't a simple system that a lot was writing in that self write up that people were putting together.
And if you have the opportunity to design a system, make it simple. Is it some kind of scorecard or rating? Do you set goals that you then check back on whatever it is, keep it lightweight, ideally send someone some sort of idea of what the conversation is about before they have it so they get the sense of what's going on.
Always give feedback periodically so that nothing, nothing is a surprise during that performance conversation. The more we demystify the process, the easier it is for people, the more they are not fearing it. They're not dreading it. They're not stressing about it. And so this is the case if you have an established performance system in your company.
Give regular feedback. Always make sure people know where they stand and talk about any issues way before the performance review so there's time to resolve them and then people won't be stressed about it. And one of the big reasons I think people get stressed about writing up like a recap of the work that they did is because they feel like, well, this is the only way that I'm going to get recognition for my work.
If I don't explain it exactly perfectly right, something's going to get missed. As a manager throughout the year and your one on one conversations. Talk about wins. Talk about highlights. Talk about the things that are going well. So your team member sees that you're actually already aware of a lot of it and the performance review is just a formality.
That's it my friends. When we do these three things, incentivizing the behavior we want to reinforce, setting clear expectations around what that behavior is, and making it simple. And really, fourth bonus, I did mention this, giving feedback all the time, demystifying feedback so that nothing is a surprise in the performance review.
Thank you. This is how we make performance easy. We reduce fear around it. And this applies whether you're in the corporate world or a small business owner doesn't matter. These are principles and the more clear you are about it, the more people feel like, oh, I got this. I know the criteria to be promoted.
I know when I get a raise or a bonus. I know the expectations of me. I know what success looks like. It doesn't feel like a moving goalpost when you have that clarity. Now you have higher team retention. Now you have higher engagement, higher motivation. All that good stuff comes right back to you. And it wasn't by doing any more work, it was actually simplifying the process.
Okay. Keep it simple. Keep it straightforward. And you got this. See you next time. That's all I have for today. Thank you so much for tuning in to the managing made simple podcast, where my goal is to demystify the job of people management so that together we can make the workplace somewhere everyone can thrive.
I always love to hear from you. So please reach out at LiaGarvin.com or message me on LinkedIn. See you next time.