Staffing Management

Dear Workforce Why Don’t Our Managers Complete Performance Reviews on Time

By Staff Report

Sep. 7, 2011

Dear Battling Bad Data:


Performance reviews are a universal issue on companies’ calendars, with the entire employee population working to the same deadline. Salary increases, promotions and other “people” decisions are best made with the most current information a company can get. Nevertheless, many supervisors, managers and executives experience the performance assessment cycle as a stressful, unwelcome task, and respond with procrastination and avoidance. (There, I said it.)

Presuming your company has a paper-form system: If it just wants results back promptly and is not interested in technological solutions, then what you have is purely a behavioral problem. You have three tools: 1) feedback 2) positive reinforcement and 3) negative reinforcement. I suggest using them in that order.

Do you have an employee in HR who is willing and well-suited to do relentless follow-up? Making this task into one person’s very personal project can be surprisingly effective. Phone calls, physical visits to a manager’s office or workspace, incremental commitments (“Can you have 50 percent completed before the halfway point?”) are sub-techniques that can work.

We got senior executives to agree in advance that they would call their noncompliant supervisors, all the way down to first-line, if HR would let them know who was behind. Can you provide feedback in a constructive yet public way, such as a company electronic bulletin board or Web site, where different departments’ completion rates can be posted as things progress? Can you provide a simple, lighthearted “reward” that creates peer pressure—i.e., a bag of M&M’s to each employee, but only if the supervisor gets all the reviews in on time? A little creativity may produce better results than a lot of threats and scolding.

Last and best: If you can do it, a PC-based technological solution can produce dramatic improvement. Automation brings additional cost, but has potential for much better control and faster cycling to this process.

SOURCE: Harold Fethe, organizational consultant, Half Moon Bay, California, July 2, 2009

LEARN MORE: Performance tools do more than influence raises and promotions. Done effectively, they also could be used to boost motivation of employees. Experts say it is important to illustrate a connection between people’s skill levels and company business needs when launching performance measurement.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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