Three ways to improve your performance reviews – immediately!

inspiredMany studies have shown that employee engagement improves organizational performance. One study showed the most engaged companies had five times higher total shareholder return than the least engaged companies.

The problem is that only 31% of employees in Canada and the United States are engaged in their work. Engagement drops to 10% in Western Europe and 15% globally (Gallup). I’ve done the math for North America. If each disengaged worker negatively affects just one other person, employee disengagement impacts everybody in our society.

Direct managers account for 70% of engagement

We are dramatically underperforming our collective potential due to the employee engagement crisis. While top leaders play a key role in overall employee engagement, 70% of individual engagement can be attributed to an employee’s direct manager. Robert Greenleaf said that the true test of servant leadership was “did people grow” and that is supported by Gallup’s key elements of engagement:

–    positive workplace relationships

–    frequent recognition

–    ongoing performance conversations

–    opportunities for personal development

For many leaders this list is overwhelming and they don’t know where to start. In my last post leaders learned how to foster positive working relationships with SupportingLines. SupportingLines also focuses on personal development, with performance conversations being a cornerstone of the model. The positive impact of the SupportingLines approach is evident at Mobify, where improved performance conversations have contributed to increased employee engagement.

SupportingLines performance conversations increase engagement

SupportingLines performance conversations replace the dreaded annual performance appraisal. The annual appraisal is a relic of the past that formerly consumed 1.8 million hours annually at Deloitte, yet provided little value (HBR). There are three core elements to SupportingLines performance conversations:

We bring leadership principles into the conversation. Many organizations invest time and effort in values and leadership principles that never make it past glossy brochures and motivational signage for the office. The values say one thing and people’s behaviour says something else. SupportingLines performance conversations bring your leadership principles into daily life. They encourage people to perform while modeling behaviours expected from leaders.

There are no final ratings – who are we to judge? Gone are the subjective, judgemental performance scores and bell curves. While we do use terms like developing, delivering or excelling to discuss performance there is no final rating. Managers and employees may differ in opinion. The conversation identifies areas of misalignment and provides examples to support each person’s assessment.

We co-create development goals that help people grow. A year is a long time to wait for a structured conversation about performance – especially if the output is just a rating. As Garry Ridge, CEO of WD40 says, “don’t mark my paper, help me get an A”. SupportingLines performance conversations surface opportunities for growth. The end result is focused, relevant personal development goals – not arbitrary ratings.


To learn more, register for our next webinar

“3 ways to improve your performance reviews – immediately”

Presenter: Jeff Smith, Mobify COO & SupportingLines founder

September 27, 2018 at 10am (Pacific)

(Register here)



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  1. Pingback: The Performance Review “Needs Improvement” - SupportingLines Institute

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