Welcome to the Holiday and Performance Review Season

Thanksgiving is only a few days away, and Hanukkah and Christmas are just around the corner.  It’s the time for feasting, giving thanks, celebrating with family and friends, and reviewing progress made over the past year.  Q4 is already halfway over and, for many of us, the month of year-end reviews is upon us. It’s a time to reflect over the past year and look at how we have grown, jot down our accomplishments, and come up with goals for next year.  Performance reviews are a chance for us to assess and evaluate where we were a year ago, where we are now, and where we want to be in the future. Many of us also get to gloat about our teams and, hopefully, get a chance to nominate a few star employees for well-deserved promotions.  While assessing ourselves, we’re also evaluating the processes we have in place for reviews and promotions, and how well the company's documentation and communication show people how they can be successful.

For many of us, this is the first time all year we’ve looked at the definition of our title or role in the organization.  Looking at the bullets or paragraph that define what success looks like for you, how well do you measure up? Where did you improve from last year?  What progress can take place before you’re promoted? Those are questions typically asked during reviews. Queries that are generally not made during evaluations are: Was anyone helping to hold you accountable and checking up on you throughout the year to ensure you were reaching your goals and assist along the way?  How coherent are your guidelines for success and how often are they updated? How can the current processes be developed? Organizations that ask these types of questions and integrate feedback into their systems are ahead of the curve and are setting themselves up for success. Employee reviews are only part of an employee performance program.

During the holiday season, people tend to be more high-spirited and thankful (although, apparently not Philly - maybe I should move).  They give more than during other times of the year and focus more on others than themselves.  Some organizations have coworker promotion nominations where team members are allowed to nominate each other for advancement, and year-end is customarily the time to do this since that’s the most significant promotion period.  While you’re thinking about helping others outside of work more, you can also think about helping those you work with advance their careers, as well. Think about everyone who supports you every day, what their role is, and what’s next for them.  Are they doing the duties of the position after theirs? Make sure your leadership team knows. If your organization doesn’t have a formal process for recommending peers for advancement, send your manager (or their manager if they aren’t on your team) an email telling them why you’re coworker should move up.  While filling out a peer review or emailing your nomination isn’t a guarantee that the person will get promoted, those who read your feedback will keep it in mind during the process.

Year-end is a great time to look back at our goals from the year, see where we’ve grown, and how we can improve next year.  It’s also an excellent time to reflect on how your team members have developed, as well as keep in mind how the company and organization can improve.  What processes are you using that aren’t clear or as effective as planned? How can we consistently communicate to everyone what success looks like in each role?  Conversations can happen throughout the year to ensure all team members are on track with their goals to ensure there are no surprises during review time. Reach out to me if you’re interested in learning how to grow your employee performance program.