If you're a manager or a worker who's been employed for a year or longer, chances are you'll be familiar with the performance management process... the annual appraisal.
Love them or dread them, performance appraisals can be an opportunity for identifying barriers, setting and evaluating goals, assessing progress and generally offering positive motivation.
But modern workplaces and the people who populate them are changing. A recent Gallup report on performance management claims the future of work is being shaped by extraordinary changes. Workers are asking for something different, the report suggests. They want a coach, not a boss. And they especially want ongoing feedback and coaching, not just a once of year performance appraisal.
The premise of the report is that traditional performance management systems - such as the annual appraisal - are no longer effective. Just 14% of employees strongly agree that their performance appraisal inspires them to improve, the Gallup report suggests. One of the problems is that an annual performance review doesn't offer the frequent feedback employees need.
But do you really need to have frequent catch-ups with your boss or manager to perform more effectively? Do weekly, fortnightly or monthly one-to-one coaching meetings with your employer boost performance, motivation, loyalty and team work? The Gallup poll suggests this is indeed the case, as employees who had conversations with their manager in the past 6 months about their goals and successes were 2.8 times more likely to be engaged at work.
And when managers provide daily feedback - as opposed to annual feedback - Gallup says their employees are 6 times more likely to say they receive meaningful feedback and 3.6 times more likely to be motivated to do outstanding work.
Here are some of the benefits of regular employee coaching:
1. Better employee engagement
If you're an employer or manager who's unconvinced of how giving regular feedback could boost your bottom line, here's some proof of its effectiveness. In a large-scale analysis of employee engagement studies, Gallup looked at how engagement affects businesses. Those with the highest level of employee engagement were found to enjoy many benefits, including the following:
- 21% higher profitability
- 20% higher sales
- 17% higher productivity
- 41% less absenteeism
2. Better job satisfaction
Regular discussions with your manager or employer can give you a better understanding of how you're performing at your job on an ongoing basis. If you receive positive feedback it can boost your confidence, making you more enthusiastic about your work and the company you work for.
3. Improved performance
By receiving feedback for a performance issue quickly and regularly, employees are more likely to consider their manager's evaluation to perform more effectively in the future when a similar situation happens. If feedback is given just once a year at an annual performance appraisal, employees may not learn from it or act on it. Timely feedback, on the other hand, is far more likely to be helpful and constructive.
4. More effective relationships
According to Gallup, frequent catch-ups help establish better relationships between managers and employers, which cannot be built during a few formal relationships. "The working relationships between a manager and employee represents a vital link to performance that must be continually nurtured," the report states. "As such, employees need to talk to their manager about their progress more than once or twice per year."
5. Reduced staff turnover
Companies that offer regular performance reviews and feedback can improve their staff retention rates, which may help save both time and money. One notable example is the software company Adobe Systems. After abolishing its annual performance reviews and introducing regular feedback in their place, the company saw a 30% decrease in the number of employees quitting their jobs.
6. Improved clarity
A Gallup report published in 2015 found only half of employees say they know what is expected of them at work. This means half of the workforce can't perform at their best because they simply don't know what their best entails. Regular feedback and one-to-one meetings can give managers and employees the opportunity to set clear expectations, both in the long and short term and when circumstances change.
7. More time
Having frequent catch-ups rather than a single annual performance appraisal may sound time consuming. But the opposite is thought to be true. Annual performance appraisals, for instance, may attempt to cover too much ground in a single meeting, and may tie up managers and employers for days at a time (take Adobe, for example, whose managers used to spend 80,000 hours each year on annual performance reviews). But frequent meetings can be shorter and more focused on a single objective, saving time while at the same time being more effective.
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