Employee engagement and retention are two of the hottest topics in HR right now. It is currently estimated that 70% of employees are not engaged, and we have to stop and ask ourselves why.
Traditionally, employee engagement programs have been developed by HR departments to survey employees, and create strategic employee engagement programs to reduce attrition. This a great first step; however a recent Gallup study shows that the top reason an employee leaves a company is due to their relationship with their manager. This highlights the fact that employee engagement starts with the manager, and companies need to provide additional strategies to their managers to assist them in engaging their team.
One of the most overlooked opportunities to increase engagement is to create a development plan for employees during their performance review. We all know the traditional performance review process. Employees will have a meeting with their manager to discuss the results of their previous year’s performance, and learn their new goals for the next review. A lot of time will be spent with managers detailing expectations; however how much time does the manager spend listening to the employee and understanding their personal goals and desired career path?
Managers need to balance corporate goals with an employee’s personal development goals to ensure the company’s success. Once the manager fully understands the employee’s career goals, they need to work together to create a development plan that will not only assist the company in reaching their growth goals, but also includes training and development for the employee to reach their personal goals. By tracking development plan progress during the performance review process, there will be a scheduled time during every review cycle to ensure that managers are actively engaging their employees as engaged employees will be key to a company’s continued growth.
Performance reviews, if done correctly, can lead towards a high-performance culture. By giving employees a common purpose, clear expectations, capability, and commitment and building this culture across the organization, employees have a clear insight into where the company is headed, their role in making this happen, what it will take to happen, and what’s in it for them if it does.
An employee’s direct manager has the most insight into and employee’s day to day performance and are most involved in performance reviews, making them a key player when it comes to driving employee engagement. Some ways they can use the performance review to help foster a more engaged workforce include a focus on performance views and showing employees show they contribute to the overall success of the company.
LinkedIn shares that managers who received feedback on their strengths showed 8.9% greater profitability. Regular feedback to these managers, specifically focusing on their strengths, contribute to this increase – and to a lower turnover rate (14.9% lower). From this study and many others like it, a great point is raised that your performance review should not only point out and lead to discussions about where an employee is struggling, but should also highlight and work on developing an employee’s strengths.
Just be careful – if your performance review process is viewed as your employees as unfair or lacking value, the results can be negative. Holding off on providing employees with feedback until the review cycle and not giving them meaningful feedback in a timely manner is one example, while another is giving seemingly arbitrary ratings that aren’t in line with the feedback you’ve been giving your employees throughout the year. Make sure that your managers are trained in how to get the most of the performance review instead of forcing them to comply to a bell curve. We’ve compiled a list of reasons why employees might not see value in the performance review and what you can do to combat these ideas and increase engagement. We also can offer alternatives to some practices that contribute to these negative perceptions.
While performance reviews are often looking at measuring how an employee has done in the past, remember that they can also be a good tool to motivate employees towards continuing to do well or to improve in the future. Take the opportunity to provide meaningful (and timely) feedback to your employees and combine these with training opportunities when needed to help make sure your employees are seeing the value and to keep them engaged.