Adding frequent employee check-ins to your performance management methods isn’t easy. Every leader in your organization needs to be on board, especially your management team. After all, these are the people who will provide feedback to the majority of your staff. It’s important they know how to give comments, compliments and criticism effectively so your new initiative goes off without a hitch. Here are a few tips for helping your managers give great feedback:
Hold Training Sessions
Not everyone is great at giving feedback right off the bat. Some members of your team might have the potential but not the skills, so hold training sessions that teach them how to hold a productive check-in. As Inc. mentioned, these training sessions should include statements about your organization’s mission, detailing how you want ongoing performance management to change company culture.
Tell Them What to Focus On
The discussions in a one-on-one are supposed to be different than those between a manager and employee during an annual review. Because check-ins are more frequent, managers can really go in depth and talk about specific goals or accomplishments. Unfortunately, many managers see these conversations as additional annual reviews rather than a new type of discussion. As such, they tend to scratch the surface of an employee’s performance, only providing a brief overview as opposed to addressing each accomplishment or setback.
Business leaders must explicitly tell their management team that these sessions need to touch on specific examples, not summarize how an employee has done since the last meeting. That way, every check-in is productive and can lead to actionable next steps.
Teach Them to Listen
Employees will often have something to say about the feedback they receive. Regardless of whether their comments are defensive or out of gratitude, managers must listen to them without being dismissive. Acknowledging what employees say rather than brushing them off shows your management team values their input and welcomes their opinions. This makes employees feel appreciated instead of overlooked.
Of course, as the Harvard Business Review noted, most managers are known for their go-getter attitudes, and they don’t always make the best listeners. These people need to make learning to listen a priority, possibly by adding it to their OKRs.
Providing good feedback is the key to an effective ongoing performance management program. By helping your managers become better communicators, you give them the tools to strengthen your employees.