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Regular reviews will help your managers and people stay relevant in a business climate that's constantly shifting.
As the business landscape is always changing, the goals, plans and skills we identify as key to our organisation now may not stay the same for long. So it's important to regularly chart progress against the markers you've established.
Managers: looking in the mirror
Managers make a fundamental contribution to the success of the organisation. Their job may be about leading and managing others, but just as we expect our people to be open to taking an honest look at how they’re doing and how they could improve, so managers should be too.
Use a development plan as the bedrock of a regular review system, through which you can identify areas where managers and employees can all improve – tying it back to the business’s overarching values and objectives as much as you can. Strategy should be reviewed alongside people development, with the two operating in tandem.
Finally, give your people the opportunity to speak out if they feel something isn't working for them. But even more important than that: make sure you act on what they say.
You'll also always learn lessons from the review process. These can then be used when recruiting new managers, as well as supporting their development and monitoring their performance.
Keep it official
Formalising your processes makes them more effective, and makes you more aware of what you want out of your business and how to get there. It also helps identify management problems before they happen, and keeps motivation high.
By constantly reviewing processes and milestones, like SMART objectives and the company’s vision, you can make sure energy isn't being wasted in the wrong places, and that every effort is going towards meeting those pre-established business needs. It also makes life easier for employees and managers – it's draining to pour energy into the wrong things, so regular reviews give the chance to ensure everything's still on track.
Build the review process into everything you do
Set times throughout the year (monthly, quarterly, bi-annually or yearly) to review your written plan and involve your people in the process.
Build your vision and objectives into your communications plan to make sure people stay focused on the things that matter and understand when things have changed.
Set objectives that are easy to review
Make sure all your objectives are SMART (specific, measurable, agreed, attainable and achievable, realistic and resourced, time-bound). This builds in timeframes for achieving objectives and helps you know when to review progress.
Reward and recognition are a key part of the review process, so ensure you celebrate successes. Make progress against your objectives a part of appraisals. It will ensure managers are using the business plan as a document for making key decisions, like deciding whether to take on an additional team member.
Keep communications going
If you’re working to improve culture and communication in your business, you’ll already have:
- Involved your team in building communication channels that work
- Harnessed their feedback to create a communication map
- Defined really clear job roles and descriptions so everyone knows what’s what
But it doesn’t end there. Reviewing what you’ve done is almost as important as doing it in the first place. You’ll keep your business on track to a better work environment if you:
- Carry out a formal annual employee survey or questionnaire
- Review and update your communication channels regularly by asking staff what works for them
- Ensure your communication map is distributed and understood by everyone, gathering feedback and changing any areas that aren’t effective
- Use performance reviews to inform your actions – don’t leave valuable insight gathering dust
- Collect customer and employee feedback on a regular basis and act on it
- Audit and update your legal requirements annually
- Update role profiles and job descriptions regularly
When you review your development processes to see how effective they've been, we suggest following the 'CIRO' model, which provides a simple framework for an evaluation:
- The Context: why did you decide on this development method? How were needs identified, and how does this particular event fit into the overall training cycle?
- The Inputs: how did you choose the trainers, programmes and materials, and the employees who used them? Was everything appropriate?
- The Reactions: was the training relevant for the people who did it and was it a good fit in terms of content and presentation?
- The Outcomes: how effectively has the learning made it back to the workplace? Of course, if you're expecting the training to have affected performance, then you need to have established the level of the learner before they took it.
- In addition to evaluating the Context, Inputs, Reactions and Outcomes to training and development, you should continuously monitor the costs too. Are they scaling over the budget you set when you conducted your cost/benefit analysis?
There are a range of evaluation methods that can be used – from learner feedback through discussions, surveys and questionnaires to more rigorous written or practical tests, or direct observations of the learner (either working or interacting with others). It's important to choose an evaluation method that's appropriate to the learning objective.
Strike while the iron is hot
There’s no point waiting to review and assess – try to document, record and evaluate as you go along, or soon after. You need to harness the momentum and start capturing results immediately. The longer you wait, the more patchy and unreliable everything can become.
Reviewing performance management
You can’t stand still when it comes to managing performance. Reviewing and improving what you do is crucial if you’re going to ensure an effective and worthwhile experience for everyone involved.
Constantly improve how you manage your people’s performance by:
- Gathering opinion and insight through team questionnaires and surveys
- Introducing a slot for review in your team meetings to allow open feedback and to identify areas for continuous improvement
- Undertaking individual performance reviews and gathering findings together so you can then act on what you discover
- Sharing your approach to rewards and recognition with other managers – and encouraging them to do the same
Take this further
Our Practitioners are always on hand if you want to take things further – ready to help you identify tailored ways for you to with review processes in your business. Get in touch to find out more.