Performance reviews: the benefits of listening

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People are the premium asset in any business. To create a productive workforce, it is therefore imperative that the business invests in its people through talent management schemes, training and performance appraisals.

The news that the unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest levels since 2008, with more and more people returning to the workplace, is certainly encouraging news as the country continues to grapple with austerity measures as a means to pulling clear of the financial crisis. Yet evidence shows that the battle is not yet won, with a secondary crisis looming: employee engagement. For businesses and the economy it seems that it is not enough to simply get people back to work, but for improved performance – beyond merely ‘turning up’ – businesses need to actively engage with their staff. Recent research suggests that significant proportions of the workforce are unhappy with aspects of their job, particularly career progression and the level of training and development they receive. Rather than material gain, the focus is now on the individual’s sense of progression and development, which I would argue is an consequence of the high levels of job insecurity felt by many following on from the financial crisis in 2008. People are now more self-reliant, wanting to feel in control of their destiny, and less inclined to trust businesses to deliver personal security.

People are the premium asset in any business. To create a productive workforce, it is therefore imperative that the business invests in its people through talent management schemes, training and performance appraisals. Losing staff is costly and dissatisfied staff damages morale. Consequently businesses should turn their attention to their staff, engaging with them and offering a sense of meaning in the workplace.

One aspect of this engagement is the performance review or appraisal. It is a great tool for developing a stronger bond with staff as it helps address interests, concerns and development areas. Here is my additive on the benefits of the performance review:

  • Performance reviews offer an effective means of managing and evaluating staff. Goals, objectives or targets can be agreed for employees during the review, with an expectation to meet the targets by the time of the next meeting, during which their achievements can be measured and assessed.
  • Performance Reviews can establish individual training needs, based on business and individual needs. Setting responsive training can intend to develop the individual’s career or the business – or both!
  • Performance reviews offer a good opportunity for businesses to listen to their employees, allowing them to develop a voice and grow in confidence. This helps with staff motivation, attitude and behaviour development. Creating this feedback loop also creates a positive relationship between management and staff.
  • The performance review allows for the formal recording and measuring of an individual’s performance. Good performance targets, backed with a robust measurement system, should help cut through personal opinion or bias and allow both parties to understand their respective positions.

Performance reviews can be relaxed affairs if managers have a personal – yet professional – relationship with their staff. It helps if the manager and staff member work in close contact, on a daily or weekly basis, which is not always the case with the increasing number of mobile employees working from alternative locations such as their home.

If employees feel engaged, understand their responsibilities and that their opinions are listened to, this can only be of benefit for the business. Developing your employee’s voice is an important ingredient to improved productivity and identity with the business. What’s more, listening to employees can help businesses discover development opportunities that may have remain buried without the opportunity for direct communication between managers and staff.

Nitu Patel

For more information about me, come see my profile: Nitu Patel


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