3 Key Elements of an Effective Performance Review

Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry positioned his strategy for implementing a more effective performance review process within the Federal Government at the Excellence In Government conference this week.  Berry has referred to the current review process ad “infrequent and rote.”   His vision is to encourage managers to give frequent recognition and praise for good work to keep employees motivated and to ensure an increase in the lines of communication. In addition, the OPM just completed a pilot mentoring initiative in June and plans to implement a mentor program later this year. 

You don't want to save up feedback until somebody fails.

In their new book, Helping People Win At Work, leadership experts Ken Blanchard and Garry Ridge support Berry’s sentiments.  Ridge believes that there are three aspects of an effective performance review; planning, execution, and review and learning.  Both Blanchard and Ridge use the analogy of providing students with the final exam and giving them the answers. Managers sit with their direct reports once a year to establish SMART goals and create the employee’s ‘final exam,” they then must coach them throughout the year to support the agreed upon goals and tell them how to accomplish those set goals.  They call this philosophy, “Don’t mark my paper, help me get an A.”  The last aspect, review and learning, helps managers and employees look for any learnings they may have encountered and determine what is working and what isn’t.

The concept of continuous coaching throughout the year has the biggest impact on performance.  While goal-setting provides direction and gets performance started, what keeps performance going and helps achieve the goals is day-to-day coaching.  Unfortunately, this is the step that is missing in most agencies.  Typically, when annual reviews are complete and goals are set, they are filed away until the following year. 

I agree with and support John Berry’s initiative to improve the overall performance process with frequent recognition and praise.  This form of communication is an excellent motivator and builder of trust among mangers and their direct reports.

How often do you communicate with your manager about your performance?

Listen to Garry talk about how the power that managers have is within the people around them.

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