Ep 255- Are You Wasting Your Time with Employee Reviews?


Employee reviews are a tough sell for employees and leaders alike.  No one likes to do them or be on the receiving end of a review gone wrong.  With as many leaders that don’t like to do reviews, it begs the question, are employee reviews a waste of time.

Total Experience design is about creating a business by design vs a business by default.  How you prepare your review matters.  What kind of feedback you give to your team throughout the year matters.  Gutless leaders wait until reviews to talk about issues.

Powerful leaders do reviews right, this week’s podcast lays out the process and keys to creating an experience for your team members that they enjoy in the employee review process.

Check out the podcast by clicking the player above or you can go to iTunes and subscribe to the show and even rate it there as well.

PS.. I mentioned the training and the tool that we put together in the Business Accelerator Membership.  If you are a coaching client, you should already have access.  If you aren’t a coaching client, and you want access, go here.

Here is the Transcript of the show:

Speaker 1: Welcome to the new work revolution podcast, New Work Revolution tot come take your business leadership to the next level and join the revolution. Here’s your host, Brandon Allen. All right, I want to welcome everyone to the new work revolution podcast here on new work, revolution.com in case you don’t know who I am, this is Brandon Allen and what is the new work revolution The new work revolution is a Speaker 2: crazy idea that I came up with years ago that not only should people execute at work, but they should also enjoy the work and the environment with which they do that work in. If you’ve ever worked for someone else, you’ve ever worked in a large company, you know that sometimes this can be challenging. So that’s what this podcast is about. I want to thank you guys for being here and so I want to talk about employee reviews today. I was doing a workshop a couple of months ago and I had a gentleman asked me about reviews. He just said, hey, you know, tell me a little bit more about reviews. We don’t do them. I don’t really enjoy him. And so we had a good conversation about that. And so because of that conversation, I wanted to really talk about reviews. And this is something that, if you’ve been to our business accelerator membership, we’ve talked about this, we did a training on it I think at the beginning of the year around just the tool that we use to create some intention around reviews.

Speaker 2: But you know, as the business owner that I talked to mentioned reviews are a love hate type of a situation, right Because here you have on one end you have employees who want feedback. But the problem with the feedback that they’ve gotten in the past is that their feedback has been given them to them in a way that was unexpected or passive aggressive or maybe just overly aggressive. And so employees are pretty leery about getting feedback even though they know they want it. Now on the flip side of that, there’s leaders that want to give feedback, but they’re nervous about it and it’s awkward and it’s nervous. And it’s Kinda like, you know, I want to approach this person and ask them out for a date. And we’re nervous about it and you know it and reviews are the same thing, right. It’s just an uncomfortable space that we create between two people that really, because it’s uncomfortable, our brains tell us, man, don’t do that.

Speaker 2: It’s a bad idea. Don’t do it and hopefully as I talk about this today, you feel a little better about reviews. You have some different ideas on how you can approach them so that you don’t create those kinds of situations because when, as a leader, you know, I’ve got to think about this and what I think about reviews is that reviews are not reveals and a lot of times a leader will basically dump all of their concerns and issues and challenges with a particular during a review process now for talking about a year since you’ve done a review, that could be a lot of things and I don’t want to create a situation where employees are hearing something for the first time at a review now as an employee, if you look at that from their standpoint, I’m nervous about that because now I’m like, what is this person going to say and how is this experience going to be

Speaker 2: Early on in my career, I watched as I worked in the finance industry, I watched a gentleman go into a review thinking he was going to get promoted and then watching as he came out, all puffy eyed and with tissue in hand, recognizing that that was the last day of his employment because he was fired. I never forgot. That was one of the first things I ever experienced in my career and it was very unsettling for me. I had a viewpoint of reviews that was not positive as a result of that. And what it made me think of it, I’m going to speak to leaders right now in this regard, is that you can’t be a gutless leader. And I’ve done a podcast on getting this leadership, but there’s a lot of gutless leaders who don’t want to tell the truth and be honest and be upfront.

Speaker 2: And they say it’s because they worry about hurting someone else’s feelings. But the person, when we withhold feedback, the person that we’re most protecting is ourselves because we’re scared about being rejected, not being accepted about being seen as a a mean person or a difficult person or whatever it is, right You insert whatever adjective you want to put there. And so you don’t give feedback. But the reality is, is if we want people to grow and we want, and we’re serious about that and we want to be intentional about it, we want to create a space for growth. And sometimes creating that space is about feedback. And I’ve shared this story i in a lot of workshops. If you’ve been to one of my workshops, you’ve heard this story, but I remember I, ed, I’ll, I’ll tell the guys name because he was a great boss, Wade Hall.

Speaker 2: He was the one time, he was my boss’s boss and he took me out to breakfast one time early on in my finance career, my corporate career, and we sat down and we had breakfast and Brett and, and I’m thinking, man, you know, I’m doing pretty good from a sales standpoint. I’m really think I’m feeling like a value contributor and my boss’s boss sits me down. And what are the first things he says to me is, Brandon, let me tell you why it will never hire you or never promote you. I’m sorry, he, they did hire me, but let me tell you why you’re never going to get promoted. And I thought, oh my gosh, here I was thinking we were going to talk about when I was going to get promoted and now he’s telling me, let me tell you why we’ll never promote you.

Speaker 2: And I was like, oh my gosh, this conversation is horrible. I’m thinking I’m getting fired. And he said, you know what, we’ll never promote you unless you grow up. Now. That was really hard feedback to hear. I didn’t like hearing that. I thought it really, you know, Kinda hit me right between the eyes and, but it caused me to think and I realize that I valued fun and out and drinking and staying up late and coming into the office a little bit late. I value those things way more than I was serious about my career and my success. But the reality is, is when I put my values in play right there, I would say early on in my life, probably my career was the number one value that I had over anything else. And I had a very success oriented mindset. Now, as an as impressive as that sounds, it didn’t come from a healthy place.

Speaker 2: It came from a place of lack. And so therefore, the way I tried to overcompensate for my feelings of lack was to perform in my life, in all areas of my life and work was just one of them. But the hearing was recognizing that where I wanted to be was not the path that I was currently walking on. I decided to change my behavior. And because of that I had a longer term, more successful career with that company. And that feedback actually made a real big impact on me. And I didn’t love getting that feedback. I didn’t love hearing it, but I appreciated it later because it made me better and it tapped into the potential that existed for me. Reviews aren’t necessarily giving feedback like that, but it’s an opportunity to give an overview and an understanding of where someone’s at today and where they want to go and what they can do over the next, whatever timeframe it is.

Speaker 2: But so their next review to move forward in that direction, right Everyone has a next step. So my job as a reviewer and as a leader is to find out what that next step is and then create the pathway for that to be successful. And so as we think about this, um, there’s a lot of issues that come up with doing reviews that I want you to just avoid and be careful with. Um, number one, we don’t want to make reviews critical and where they’re primarily critical, right I mean there can be some critique in there and hopefully it’s critique they’ve already heard, but we want to also bring out the positivity in that and make sure that, look, it’s, it’s not just about being critiqued and doing better, it’s also about celebrating the things that you already do well in your career.

Speaker 2: Number two, people do reviews with no intention, no structure. There’s none at all. Don’t go into a review without structure. Create a structure for how you want that to go. And I’ll kind of talk about what that looks like here in a minute. No follow through. So then here’s the thing, we do the review. It could be critical. We give the review, we go through the process, we write some things down, and then there’s no followup afterwards. What’s the point of doing a review If you never talk about the contents of that review again, all you’ve done in that situation is telling an employee it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter. We did it, but it was really just for the dog and pony show of it. It wasn’t because we really wanted to create any sort of real transformation in that process. And, and I think if we’re going to get this process right at the core of doing reviews well is having a heart for people development.

Speaker 2:

If you have no heart, you will give no effort.

Speaker 2 Source Title

And so I had to learn this early on. I would love to tell you that early on as a leader, man, I had just this tremendous heart for people and I was really great about that. I sucked at it, I was terrible at it. But when I started to develop a heart for people, it started the impact of different things that I did and how I did it a lot differently. And, and I’m going to share this with you guys. This is from a Bible study that I’m working on. Um, so just lean in here, right Even if you’re not a bible reader. Becu cause I think you’ll find this really helpful. It’s about encouragement. It says encouragement is not a technique based on selecting certain words. And I get this all the time, right

Speaker 2: People say, Brandon, I wish I could use the words that you use and the way that you use them, how you use them. Could you teach us how to wordsmith But here’s the thing. Encouragement is not a technique based on selecting certain words. It is an attitude of view of others as valuable with a commitment to treat them accordingly. Think about that. It’s an attitude of view of others as valuable with a commitment to treat them accordingly. Everyone knows how to treat someone with value and treat them as if they have value. Everyone knows what that looks like, but we don’t all have an attitude for doing it. I know I have been a person that hasn’t had an attitude of doing that and I think if you don’t have heart, you will have no effort. And then if you do give effort without heart, it’s just going to be flat.

Speaker 2: It’s going to fall on it’s face, it’s going to be transparently, not authentic, and so that is going to be one of those things where if you’re not careful, you can erode culture in the ways that you do reviews and things like that. But here’s some things that I want you to think about as you do a review. Number one, what is your intention for doing a review Now you’ve heard me talk about this a lot of times our methodology is total experience design. How do you design a business versus by design versus default How do you create a business by design versus one by default, every aspect of the business is created with intention. Reviews are part of that. What do I want to do a review for What is the purpose How does it work How do we get to the end result, right

Speaker 2: We start with the end in mind. We reverse engineer that process so that we can create a process that speaks to that. Now, here’s what I’m going to here, right This is what you may be thinking right now is Brandon, how do I do it and I’m going to tell you that everyone has different intentions. It all looks a little bit differently for me. I like to make it very forward focusing and powerful, so there’s elements in there where I ask people to provide feedback on how we’re doing as a company, asking them to provide feedback on how they feel about their own performance. I start to give them pointers and tips about how I see them as an employee, what’s good, what’s not so good. I asked them to provide areas where they want to grow and they want personal development and then we start to work on the plan for the coming year of how we address their limitations and how we expand upon the areas that they already do really well and how do we get them to their next step.

Speaker 2: Do they want to get promoted Do they want to learn new things Do they want to do a different role How do we start creating the framework for that to happen That is how we provide a review. That’s how we do a review. We want to think about what does a successful review look like Number two, what do your people find valuable So this is for you, but it’s also for them. So what do they want And don’t be afraid to get feedback on your feedback mechanisms. One of those feedback mechanisms happens to be a review. Don’t hesitate to ask your team, how does this land with you What’s helpful What’s not helpful But we don’t ask these questions cause sometimes we don’t want to know, right What if they’re going to be really critical What if they hate it Now all of a sudden been looked.

Speaker 2: That’s a place of ego right then and there, right And when we talk about embracing and working in our soul purpose, ego was one of those things that gets in the way of us walking in purpose. But I want to be able to walk fully in purpose. And one of the ways that I do that as I let go of my ego and I asked for feedback and I accept that feedback and I listened to it and I take it and use it as an opportunity to potentially, reiterate the things that we’re doing and, and create something new as a result of that feedback. It doesn’t mean that I always take the feedback that I get because some of it I may feel like it doesn’t fit or it’s not realistic or whatever, but I do listen to the feedback and I take it in.

Speaker 2: But what do your people find valuable What do they want to see out of a review What would be helpful for them They’re the customer. How do I deliver for them while also making sure that we’re delivering for the company Number three, create a rug. A regular structure for ongoing personal development after the meeting is the important piece. How do we interact How do we work together How often do we train Where do we grow All those things need to happen afterwards. And how do I recognize and acknowledge areas of growth that I recognize in someone that they’re doing right So I may give a certain employee something specific to work on and then I w I noticed that specific thing showing up in a powerful way. I can recognize that employee right there and say, man, you are really nailing that thing that we talked about.

Speaker 2: I’m so happy about that. Really proud of you. I’m really excited to see how you’re growing in this area. Now that’s a impromptu feedback, but I’m also creating space for intentional conversations. How’s it going How are you feeling about the development plan Do we need to make some changes to what we’re doing All those things need to occur. Do not ignore the review and never talk about it again, but a lot of times people say, well, Brendon, I’m busy. I’m busy, but your business is a relationship business. Most businesses, our relationship businesses, not just relationships with customers, but relationships with each other, and if we tell the people inside of our organization that we’re too busy for them, what we’re saying is you’re not that important period. You’re saying you’re not that important. And I’m telling you right now, if you’re too busy to meet with your employees on a regular basis, what you’re doing is broken, it’s broken.

Speaker 2: And at some point in time, maybe not immediately your brokenness will be exposed in a big way that will cause you to then do the thing that you’ve been avoiding. But it won’t be on your terms. It will be on some other circumstances, predicated terms and now you’re not playing your game, your playing someone else’s game or something else’s game because of that process. So do the work afterwards and follow up. The real benefit here is look, if you lean into reviews and you do reviews is certainty. Dr. David Rock from the neuro leadership institute, he went through and Hook people up to functional Mris and he and he really studied like how do people receive feedback How do they, how do they get that How do they work that, um, you know, what does their brain do when they get certain stimuli and responses And one of the things that people respond really positively to is certainty.

Speaker 2: And a review is an opportunity to create certainty around how to pay increases happen. It’s an opportunity to create certainty about how are you doing and how do I feel about you. It’s an opportunity to create certainty around what is the next step in your career and where are you going. Those are all the things that are possible when you do reviews in a healthy way and people want to know where they stand. You think they don’t. And that’s the problem with where leaders go is they think, hey, we don’t the, the, the employees don’t want feedback. They get defensive or they get pissy about it, but they want feedback and they want to know what’s next, what is next for me How do I fit And I’ve seen a lot of leadership scenarios and people who leave organizations because they don’t see where they fit and what’s next.

Speaker 2: When we do this right, we allow for a more productive and engaged team. And if you want a more productive and engaged team creates space for regular feedback, create space for growth, training, development, help them get to that next step. And that’s really about an investment in your people. And look, if you’re too busy to make this investment, your ability to scale, your ability to grow, your ability to develop leaders will be hindered because you’re not taking the time to grow and develop people. And people are your key leverage point to growth and next steps in your own business as you grow your organization and provide value to others. And so I want to make sure that I take great care of my people. And one of the best ways that you can do that is to do reviews and have intention around it.

Speaker 2: Follow up, follow through, honor that person in the process, and think about what does it look like for me to continue to open my heart to people and help them grow and develop as they have been. They’ve entrusted their career to you as a steward of their career. How do you steward them well in the coming year So if you have any questions, please go to new work revolution.com let me know if you are not connected to us and coaching. Go to business accelerators. co – BAM – b I think is the URL, but I’ll put that in the show notes because I probably just screwed that up. Um, and, and check us out because we do ask me anything. Calls monthly, we do training calls monthly, you’ll get access to some of the tools and resources that I’m talking about in that membership site. So if you’re not connected to us, BAM is a great way to go. I’ll make sure that’s in the show notes, but I want to thank everyone for listening to this week’s episode. Hey, if you liked the show, some of you guys have been awesome, right Leaving reviews, rating the show. I really appreciate that. Go Review, review the show, rate the show, share it on social media, let other people know about it. And again, thank you for listening. We’ll talk to you again soon.

Speaker 1: Thank you. Thanks for listening to the new work revolution podcast on new work revolution, Todd. Com. Until next time, take your business leadership to the next level and join the revolution.

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