Learn How: Get to know your employees without being weird.

We recently read an article from BusinessNewsDaily.com, How to Conduct an Effective Performance Review and we thought of a step or two to add at the beginning of their list. Before you can properly review your employee’s performance, you must first learn all you can about your employee and their work. Sometimes we assume that time breeds familiarity. If you’re spending 8 hours, 5 days a week with someone, you know them pretty well, right?  Actually, you may find that you have a lot to learn.

learn about your employees

Learn How: Get to know your employees without being weird.

The problem:

Usually, the relationship between an employer and their employee is fairly one-way.  We expect the employer to lead and the employee to learn. An employee may provide information if that is part of their job description, but there are very few avenues set up for an employer to learn directly from their employee.  Performance reviews are mostly conducted off of observation, and while observation is an excellent way to learn, it is not the only way. Employers often find themselves wondering why their employees are performing one way or another, without realizing that they should ask the source!  Your employee is right there in front of you (or at home, but on Skype). Why not create a more open interaction?

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The problem, part 2:

The simple answer to this question is that many employers are sometimes afraid to open that channel of communication.  It takes a certain amount of vulnerability and courage to be open to what an employee might have to say about their job and their performance.  Maybe you’re afraid you’ll learn that they have valid concerns. Maybe you’re afraid you won’t know how to address those concerns. No one is served by just putting your nose to the grindstone and ignoring what may be affecting not just one employee’s performance, but anyone who finds themselves in that employee’s position.  

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The answer?  Questions.

This is about more than “How are things going?” You want to get to know your employees in relation to the work they are doing.  We’re not talking about personal questions about your employee’s home life.  That’s awkward. Plus, it doesn’t really help your business or your employee.  You can show your employee that you care about them by showing that you care about who and how they are as your employee, where they spend most of their day.  

Want better performance from more capable employees?  Invite honest conversations with your employees before their performance reviews.  At a lost for how to start? Here is a list of open-ended questions that will get you more than a “Mhrm” response.

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 10 Questions to Ask Your Employees before the Performance Review:

  1. What are some of your strengths that we’re not yet taking advantage of?
  2. What are the education opportunities we could offer or help you to access?
  3. How much time do you think should be spent interacting with your team members?
  4. How much time do you need to concentrate on working independently?
  5. Can you give me a sense of what you feel your priorities are during the day?
  6. Can you name some specific things we’re doing that really motivate you?
  7. What is one thing you’re doing now that you wish you could pass off to someone else?
  8. If you were in my position, what changes would you make?
  9. What are some things that you feel I don’t understand that are really hurting my business?
  10. What are you excited about hearing during your performance review? Is there anything you are worried about hearing?

More Help

Now that we’ve given you a head start on your performance reviews, we’d like to help you out with your payroll!  Aren’t we sweet? And with PayWow, you get a sweet deal – payroll, time management and tax compliance all for the lowest price available.  If you’re struggling with payroll, spending so much time with those tricky calculations that you don’t even have time for performance reviews, let alone getting to know your employees, give us a try! We’re here to help, from small business to larger enterprise.  We’ve got you covered.

Try PayWow!

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