Recent research from Gallup suggests that a large portion of the European workforce just isn’t confident that they know what’s expected of them. The takeaway? That team leaders should tweak their own behaviour to inspire the very best performances from their people – and tweak it now.
Communicating well with workers is important: it has a direct effect on the bottom line.
Team members who understand what they do and why they do it, care about what they do. And people who care about what they do can help others care, too. Their passion instils confidence in the products they offer and inspires enthusiasm. Not only can this have a positive effect on sales, but it also strengthens working relationships and improves performance.
Making regular goal reviews a part of your engagement strategy is an effective way to make sure your organisation sees these benefits. While creating chances to strengthen relationships, they lay out a clear career path – presenting goals and reinforcing progress through direct feedback. This, accompanied by support along the way, keeps people engaged and productive.
Some companies who have implemented annual reviews have been disappointed by the results – but this is a sign that they’re not going about it the right way. Poor implementation can lead to a cycle of diminishing confidence and enthusiasm, which can result in failure for the programme.
We’ve pulled together a few thoughts on how to turn what could just be a box-ticking exercise into a chance to nurture a promising relationship.
Step 1. Start at the top
Managers are key to communicating a new process to your people. They’re the ones who make sure everyone knows what needs to be done, and why.
That’s why the first step in implementing effective goal reviews and 360⁰ feedback is to make sure that managers and team leaders really understand the process, and see why it’s valuable to the organisation. Then they can communicate that to their employees.
Step 2. Identify the target
It doesn’t matter how sophisticated your appraisal process is – if you don’t know how feedback is going to be used, it’s worthless.
Before you set the wheels in motion (and after you’ve spoken to your managers and team-leaders), decide what you need to know from your feedback, and choose questions that get you this information. This way you can make sure you’re identifying competencies which will improve performance and really get something out of the process.
Step 3. Present the process
The more time you put in to explaining why your people are taking part in 360⁰ feedback reviews, and how the information will be used, the more you and your company will get out of your new strategy.
Valuable, high-quality feedback comes from people who understand and are positive about the process. By underlining the fact that all feedback is anonymous, you can encourage your people to share honest opinions – giving you valuable insider knowledge that you can put to work in your organisation.
Step 4. Stay positive
You can – and should – put an end to the days when just mentioning an annual review is enough to give someone that sinking feeling.
Appraisals are at their most effective when used as a chance to highlight strengths and discuss ways to fill any skills gaps. Instead of drawing attention to weaknesses and areas of underperformance, use the time to recognise the strengths of your people and enhance their learning and development opportunities.
Step 5. Make the results meaningful
A great team is made up of a mix of personalities with different strengths, passions and preferences – development for each of your people should focus on different competencies and build on them at different paces.
You can present feedback in a report that’s easy to read and understand, and that’s tailored to the individual. Quality feedback means you can create a personal development plan that reflects their goals, when they should aim to achieve them by, and how they will be supported along the way.
We know that some organisations don't see the results they hope for from their 360⁰ feedback programme – but this is down to implementation. With the right investment of enthusiasm, time and honesty it has the potential to transform careers – and companies.