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It has always been important for both employee and supervisor to communicate and provide a clear image about how things were going regarding the employee’s past performance. Also, the supervisor might also need to see how things were perceived according to the employee’s perspective. However, the employee might see the performance appraisal meeting as a nightmare; once called for this meeting, he/she is getting nervous. This is how the scenario goes in the performance review meeting in probably the best scenario, the manager requests a meeting with the employee for performance review, the manager tries to engage the employee in the meeting by asking questions e.g.: How do you perceive your previous performance? What goals have you accomplished? What goals did you have problems accomplishing?..etc.
The question is, is feedback still an effective tool for employee development? Does the feedback have a true long term effect or would its effect last if it actually did for a short term only?
Practice of feedback has been perceived by many supervisors as shedding the light on the employee’s past performance, the goals he accomplished and the goals he didn’t. Maybe by this way, you will have an employee who is focusing on goals but, has no sight of organization’s goals and probably not even the team goals and as a result, you will have an employee with low engagement considering, organization perspective. The employee might relate as well the feedback tool to reward or punishment which definitely drifts it away from being a developmental tool. Therefore; feedback turns to be static, focuses on the past, can be limited and may disregard the future opportunities.
Marshall Goldsmith has perceived that feedback is a practice from the past that needs to be developed; he introduced feedforward instead of feedback that focuses on keeping things positive, focusing on positive future change in behavior; changing static to dynamic and short term effect to long term effect.
How can we make the meeting more effective?
First, you need to forget the past, keep things positive and focus on making the future behaviors more effective; let them decide the behaviors they need to change and suggest how to achieve them and focus on how this change can positively impact their lives on a wide scope. Try not to be judgmental and avoid negative critique. Also, thank them for the suggestions they present with a conclusion of how both sides would commit to achieving the developmental plan. On the other hand, enforce the positive behavior by demonstrating it and its positive impact on the personal level, individual work, team and the organization and thanking him/her as well for it.
The article doesn’t seek abandoning the performance appraisal or feedback; the goal is to make the communication more effective and efficient between the supervisor and the subordinate as well as across the whole organization. Also, changing results starts by changing behavior and starts with the way things are perceived. Definitely you can not change the past, but you can still be able to change the future. It’s important to have the performance aligned with the organization’s goals, and to achieve this; the employee needs to understand how his/her performance and thus, behavior can positively impact; the organization, its goals and vision. That’s how you can have an engaged employee who would consider himself/herself a partner for achieving the organization’s goals instead of just being task focused and eventually a higher sustainable results for the organization.