This is the perfect time of year to write a post on the importance of making performance management a year-round effort.
After all, January is when resolutions abound and the importance of delivering effective feedback is something all managers should be striving for.
Instead, I'm going to focus on the advantage of using journal notes as part of your performance management process.
These notes are something both you as the supervisor and your employees should consider incorporating into your weekly or at least monthly routine.
Journal notes provide an easy way to keep a record of milestones, accomplishments, successes and challenges as they occur, when the details are fresh in your mind. Not only do these details help you to provide your employees with feedback rich with real examples, they also enable your employees to prepare for these feedback discussions as well.
These notes could include:
- A thank you email from a satisfied customer
- Accomplishments such as completing a project on time and under budget
- Kudos from a colleague or from a team leader in another part of your organization
Future training and development considerations
- A record of your actions to reward or remedy behavior
When you do meet to discuss performance - hopefully on a regular basis throughout the year - you and your employees can compare notes and have a richer performance discussion, one that includes yours as well as your employees' perspectives. You can also use these notes as a jumping point to discuss coaching and development opportunities, career aspirations and more.
If needed, these notes also allow you as the manager to identify, log and hopefully address a performance issue early on, before it becomes a major stumbling block.
About those performance reviews...
Journal notes help you to provide your employees with detailed feedback, reinforced with real examples.
Unless you've kept detailed notes throughout the year, writing employee performance reviews at the end of the year tends to result in skewed evaluations. While we easily remember what happened in the last quarter, we tend to forget the details of what went on earlier.
Recording details as they happen provides more vivid and comprehensive information.
Here are what some Halogen customers have to say about the advantages of keeping a performance journal:
Make sure to promote the use of the Performance Journal on a regular basis. No one can remember what happened a year ago! Co-works at our company have started prompting each other!
We like to tell our employees to use thier Journal Notes to keep track of tasks/accomplishments throughout the year, as it is too hard to try to remember everything from the past year. It is a great tool, so might as well use it to it's full potential!
The Performance Journal is a great tool to keep track of performance highlights throughout the year - so employees don't forget them at review time. Also encourage employees to cut and paste thank you and praise e-mails to keep them on file and share with their manager.
Make 2012 the year that you and your employees start journaling
While our talent management suite includes a Performance Journal feature, you and your employees can easily track journal notes the old fashioned way. The advantage of an automated solution is that it allows you to record performance details and store them in a central location for easy retrieval (and sharing between you and your employees, if appropriate). The system can also provide automatic reminders to ensure you make journal notes year round (but setting up Outlook reminders can work too).
With journal notes - and hopefully, more frequent performance meetings - next year's annual performance review can be used to plan ahead versus looking back.
Are journal notes something your organization uses to track performance? Do employees embrace the idea or do you find it difficult to motivate them to track their performance this way?