A constructive way of conducting the employee performance review is to hold interim (quarterly) performance appraisals and make them part of a continuous employee development plan or process.
Lasting performance starts with setting performance goals, working together, and continuing with timely performance feedback.
Setting and achieving goals involves 5 steps: planning, goal setting, performance feedback, interim reviews, and evaluation. Interim reviews are critical during this process.
Let’s review a performance task that illustrates the importance of feedback and regularly checking work.
A pilot is required to land the aircraft at a designated airport during limited visibility, known as instrument meteorological conditions.
In this scenario, the pilot cannot see the ground consistently and must rely solely on her thorough cross-check of aircraft instruments to determine position. After verifying location, the pilot begins descent to the desired airport at an initial approach point determined by her location and altitude.
Assuming weather remains as forecast, if the pilot maintains a thorough cross-check of aircraft instruments that indicate airspeed, altitude, heading, location, and rate of descent, she will descend to the minimum descent altitude or decision height at a location with the airport in sight, where she can proceed and land.
If the pilot performs the approach properly, all aircraft instruments will remain within tolerance and she will receive “on course, on glide path” indications throughout the approach. At the beginning of the approach, the aircraft instruments appear less sensitive and any “on course, on glide path” deviation may appear minor.
If they are corrected early, the pilot can return the aircraft to the correct position easily.
As the pilot gets closer to the airfield, the instruments become increasingly sensitive. Adjustments that should have been made early on become more difficult to correct. Typically, the approach is more erratic or results in a failure to break out of the clouds at a point safe for landing.
Employee Performance Review
- Interim Review: Conducting an employee performance review via semi-formal feedback
Failure to maintain every variable correctly might cause the aircraft to be left or right of course, above or below glide path, or too fast or too slow. If the pilot gets out of tolerance, this will prompt a call from the air traffic controller monitoring the radar with an offer of assistance or other course corrections.
At the time or location of the decision point, the pilot must see the airport and determine whether they can proceed for a safe landing. If they cannot see the runway, the approach failed and becomes a missed approach that requires a go around and a need to try again.
Setting and Achieving Goals
When conducting an employee performance review, as with any task, it is much easier to take corrective action early on.
This requires that leaders have regular contact with their employees so that they coach and mentor along the way. This allows for discussion and clarification via “foot locker” coaching sessions along the way.
Next, if you conduct periodic, semi-formal reviews (quarterly or some other interval), you allow both parties the opportunity to adjust.
For example, if you conduct semi-formal “pencil” sessions on a quarterly basis, it would provide both a chance to conduct less threatening rehearsal sessions of the formal review. Here, both manager and employee have the opportunity for a full exchange of ideas without the stress of the annual review.
During the remaining time available, everyone can take the necessary corrective action instead of waiting for the formal review at annual appraisal time.
A quarterly or interim employee performance review provides a mechanism for tracking employee performance and making any necessary adjustments before conducting employee performance evaluations.
Make your interim reviews a small part of the appraisal process by providing feedback and encouraging growth and development.
Tom Crea is a leadership expert, decorated career Army Officer, and Blackhawk Helicopter pilot. Because of his proven skills, he was hand selected to run the Army’s leadership development program at two Boston colleges, where he and his team transformed college students into combat leaders.
Tom has a B.S. & M.C.S. in Computer Science and a M.A. in Political Science and loves coaching basketball and spending time with his wife and two boys.
Creating a Culture:
Tom’s proudest leadership moment came when his unit was called to war in Iraq after he had rotated out. His replacement was not able to perform, so members he developed stepped up to lead; they attribute their success to the leadership Tom instilled in each of them. Today, the Blackhawk leadership way.