When management research firm CEB studied the topic of performance reviews, it uncovered that only one in every 20 managers was satisfied with how their company conducted employee evaluations. Furthermore, only one in 10 HR executives felt that performance reviews produced accurate information. Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Yet, for most companies – property management firms included – routinely measuring how employees are performing is a necessary evil. So, what gives? The good news is, the problem isn’t actually with the appraisals themselves, but rather with leaders forgetting the following key factors.
Performance reviews should be a conversation, not a confrontation.
Most employees cringe when they hear the phrase “performance review,” because, well, in many instances, these meetings have felt more like a firing squad. The fact is, stressful interactions with management don’t do anything to help a person grow, and they certainly don’t help in the way of employee turnover.
To improve the experience, leaders should treat these meetings as informal conversations during which both parties engage in a positive, productive dialogue. Consider holding these meetings over lunch or while walking, as these scenarios tend to be less intimidating.
Technical skills are only part of the picture.
Is it important that your team know how to use the property management software you’ve chosen? Sure. But it’s equally, if not more critical that they demonstrate certain “soft” skills as well, like empathy, cooperation and a positive attitude. After all, those technical skills won’t make much difference if the employee repeatedly shows up late to client meetings.
To optimize the employee review experience for everyone involved, approach it from a broader standpoint. Encourage and reward workers for developing and improving skills in areas beyond their job-specific skillset. This will help create a more well-rounded workforce that is even more valuable.
Feedback goes both ways.
Far too often, employee reviews are conducted from the top down. In reality, both parties can benefit from feedback. Think about it. A worker that’s in the trenches day in and day out can provide valuable insight to a manager who sits in his office all day. And that insight can be used for better decision-making.
Inviting your employees to share their thoughts and opinions about how they are being managed and how the company is being run can be an uncomfortable experience, but it can also be eye-opening. And at the end of the day, wouldn’t you want to know if you were standing in the way of progress?
Use carrots, not sticks.
If a particular employee’s performance is not measuring up, don’t just beat her down. Give her an opportunity to turn things around by developing and implementing a performance improvement plan. Identify areas of weakness and lay out the steps for growth together, including a specified time frame for progress. Keep in mind that threats of pay cuts, demotions and termination often only serve to make the problem worse. Instead of punishing, focus on ways to motivate. The results should speak for themselves.
What about you? How are performance reviews handled in your property management company? Could any of the four tips above make the experience better? Share your thoughts below.