ist1_6135721-business-confrontation“I scheduled my employee review on your calendar.”  Bosses cringe when they hear these dreaded words, automatically thinking, “She is asking for a raise.”

And it goes both ways.  When team members hear “It’s time for your team review,” they cringe and think “They are going to reprimand me about something.”

And usually you are both right!

Most small businesses do not have a process for how and when raises are issued.  This leaves the employee in the awkward position of having to bring up the conversation, with no structure or formula.  The only process to ask for a raise is to request an employee review.  And typically bosses dislike doing reviews, or any kind of management, so they are not eager to take time away from their revenue-producing activities to do a team evaluation. The one time they will schedule an evaluation is when they need to discuss a problem with an employee and put it on record.  So there is good reason for your reluctance to hear the words “time for a team review.”

Instead of taking dedicated time to talk about your employee’s growth and goals for the next three years, you end up having an awkward conversation about raises or reprimands.  Each party typically comes in already defensive and not listening to the other.  It isn’t a conversation –  it’s a guarded, hide your cards type of meeting.  Instead of creating a growth path and discussing how your employee’s goals can be achieved, you end up having an unfulfilling conversation that typically leaves both parties feeling unheard, unappreciated and a little bit taken advantage of.  Or at best, it’s all fluff with no future planning.

We advocate strongly that the employee evaluation must die!  It’s archaic and damaging.  It doesn’t fit with the innovative, evolving world of entrepreneurship.  There is little value in the employee completing exercises like “rate yourself on timeliness.”   If there is a problem with an employee’s timeliness, it should be addressed in the moment, not left to fester until an annual review.  It’s a waste of your time.

An employee should never hear criticism for the first time in an employee review.  No employee can fix a problem without knowing it exists.  You can have a big-picture discussion of how certain attitudes and behaviors won’t support achieving an employee’s goals, but a reprimand has no place in a team review.

Conversations about raises aren’t appropriate in a team review either.  If your boss is waiting for the compensation “shoe to drop,” the boss is hearing you from a different perspective, because everything you are saying lands like buildup to a raise request.  Ideally, raises should come from a totally different conversation.

In fact, the entire term “review or evaluation” needs to go.  What good is reviewing or evaluating someone’s past performance?  Wouldn’t you find more value in using that time to create a growth plan for the future that supports the employee’s passion and goals as well as the company’s future needs?

If you are ready to let go of the old-school employee evaluation mindset and learn a new way of communicating with and empowering employees, join our FREE webinar “How to Have Tough Conversations with your Team (or Your Boss): The 8 Keys to an Empowering Conversation” on March 5th from 1-2 p.m. ET.  Register here.

Champions of your continued success,

Laney and Molly

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