Kyle Lagunas gives some great insights into his (and presumably other Gen Y’s) expectations of, and frustrations with, Performance Reviews in his article ‘A Generation Y Perspective on Performance Reviews’. I’ve taken some of Kyle’s key points and added some comments of my own on how managers can meet these Gen Y expectations of employee reviews
Employee reviews and Gen Y
KL: Make the most of the review. Performance reviews are our best chance to get quality face time with leadership and to gain insight into their expectations of us. You don’t have to make every review life changing. However, we need to feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves.
JH: I’m delighted to hear Kyle’s comments about both ‘expectations’ and ‘something bigger’. In my video ‘Motivating Your Staff with Powerful Performance Objectives’ I talk in depth about how to get clear on expectations and how, using the way we communicate objectives, to ensure that our staff understand that their work fits into a ‘bigger picture’. It’s these discussions on the ‘bigger picture’ and demonstrating how the employees performance impacts on the success of the business that makes employee reviews motivational
Employee reviews, Gen Y and Constructive Criticism
KL: Lose the cream filling, and challenge us to succeed. In the workplace, we appreciate honesty, even if it means getting some tough love. Although we might be surprised when a manager tells us we didn’t perform up to par, don’t write us off as complete dolts. Let’s talk about it, figure out where we went wrong, and come up with a game plan with clear, measurable goals.
JH: Are the managers in your business reluctant to give constructive criticism? Do they find it difficult to give the type of ‘tough love’ that Kyle talks about – inside or outside of the employee review? We need to help managers learn how to deliver criticism on performance skillfully. We also need to challenge manager’s assumptions that our employees can’t take the honesty and tough love they need in order to succeed. In blog ‘Performance Feedback: How to Give Constructive Criticism’ I talk about how to prepare to give criticism. In my video ‘Motivating Your Staff to Improve Their Performance With Positive Criticism’ I train managers in how to give criticism in a way that staff find easy to understand, easy to accept and that improves performance
Employee reviews, Gen Y and Performance Feedback
KL: Don’t just talk to us – connect with us. We know you have a lot on your plate, and we don’t need you to hold our hands, but regular feedback is invaluable to us. You may have noticed, though, that we communicate through new channels; we’re not big fans of printed memos in triplicate.
JH: As ever, we need to encourage managers to give regular performance feedback – not just at employee review time. As Kyle points out, there are ways we should be exploring that enable employees to gain ‘real time’ feedback. Managers trained and skilled at giving feedback and systems that enable employees to track their own performance would seem like a winning combination
(I cover in depth how to give performance feedback in my video ‘Motivating Your Staff by Monitoring and Reviewing Performance’)
Employee reviews, Gen Y and Job Satisfaction
KL: Positive reinforcement isn’t a bad thing. Who decided to demonize trophies in the workplace, anyway? Just because we’re not on a football field doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect to be recognized for stellar performance. I may not be as satisfied with a plastic “gold” medal as I was in middle school, but we all like being rewarded for “crushing it” (as my boss is wont to say).
JH: Do the managers in your organization give enough praise in employee reviews? Are they using employee reviews simply to talk about performance? Research tells us that most people feel they don’t get enough praise. Mmanagers’ tell me they are sometimes reluctant to give praise because they’ve had experiences of being praised themselves in ways that, frankly, haven’t motivated them at all. And, of course, they’re not over keen on having the same effect on their employees
It’s actually quite easy to deliver praise badly – praise that is seen as patronising or manipulative by the recipient. But done well, its dynamite. In my blog ‘5 Ways to Give Praise’ I outline how to use praise for the positive reinforcement that Kyle talks about
Employee Reviews Summary
What Kyle’s insights are that he’s asking for is exactly what employees have been asking for, for as long as anyone can remember. Effective management is effective management – always has been always will be. The question is – are the managers in your business equipped with the tools and techniques they need to undertake employee reviews in the way that Kyle and I guess many other employees (no matter what generation!) are looking for?