Deloitte is the world’s largest professional services firm with about 250,000 employees worldwide. Their performance management processes (completing forms, holding meetings, and creating ratings) required two million hours annually to complete. That is the equivalent of 1,000 employees. They replaced their system with ongoing Coaching Feedback.
Like most performance management processes, their process involved forced ranking, rigid rating systems and once-a-year appraisal. When Deloitte examined their ROI, they found that they were reducing employee engagement and alienating high performers — a negative ROI. More than half of Deloitte executives did not believe their employee review systems drove employee performance or engagement. I imagine that the responses from employees would have been even higher.
So, rather than continuing to waste time on ineffective and counterproductive performance management processes Deloitte scrapped the annual evaluation cycle. They replaced it with ongoing Coaching Feedback.
Moreover, they’re not alone. Thus far, six percent of Fortune 500 companies have replaced traditional annual review performance rankings and moved to a Coaching Feedback approach. The number is growing.
Coaching Feedback System
People don’t want feedback; they want attention.” — Marcus Buckingham
Feedback is in all aspects of our lives. We give feedback when we go to a restaurant, take a class, attend meetings and so on. Moreover, we offer feedback regarding how our managers are leading and how our team members are performing.
So, what’s the problem? Most people don’t like feedback.
When someone says to you, “I am going to give you some feedback right now.” Do you react with openness and enthusiasm? Moreover, when you give feedback, you will rarely get the outcomes that you want. The most likely result is making the person defensive.
Feedback is a gift. Make it a part of a teaching moment.
A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.” ― John Wooden
Coaching is about assisting employees to reach their future goals — coaching advocates for optimal performance. Feedback is about helping team members understand what prevents them from achieving their current goals — feedback reinforces appropriate behaviour. Together Coaching Feedback as a system drives excellence and personal fulfillment.
No one learns as much about a subject as one who is forced to teach it.” ― Peter Drucker
Coaching Feedback requires an individual to give themselves feedback first. It applies both to positive feedback and ‘learning feedback.’ In a coaching culture, the term ‘negative feedback’ is not appropriate. All input becomes part of the learning experience. This technique applies to conversations about an action, a project, a behaviour, an appraisal, or any situation where people are being asked to reflect on their performance.
The principles of our Feedback and Coaching System are:
Shifting from managing to fuelling performance
Coaching Feedback needs you to change from a focus on employee management to a focus on powering employee performance. I have shared some of the lessons from professional sports. You win championships through great coaching — not after the fact assessments. More frequent check-ins and reviews provide a manager with more opportunities to guide a team member towards his or her best performance.
Shifting from the straightforward view of performance to the richest
The success of a leader is determined by how much he or she can positively enable others.” ― Chris Hutchinson
Most performance review systems simplify employee performance down to a rating or ranking — a single number. Coaching Feeback is more about generating a richer, nuanced view of every employee to facilitate their better performance and fulfillment.
Making both the team leader and the team member responsible for the review
If you want to get better, get coached.” ― Joseph Deitch
Two people are involved in the interaction: the team leader and the team member. Responsibility rests on both people in the conversation. Focus on how to give feedback and development of behaviour to receive feedback best. Encourage team members to extract the learning that can come from receiving feedback well—regardless of the context in which it is delivered.
Focusing on the employee in his or her role
Greatness, whether athletic or otherwise, doesn’t come from those content on just being but from those who seek being the difference.” ― Kirk Mango
Do not rank employees against one another or compare performance to other employees. Help them be fulfilled and achieve excellence in their position. You need to show them how their role fits into the organization and understand the valuable service they provide to customers or their team. Radio-Flyer, the maker of the “little red wagon” offer some promising practices in this area.
Providing feedback more often
Instead of doing a review once a year, provide input more often. Fuel performance discussions with weekly check-ins, at the end of each major project and at least every quarter.
Keeping it simple and flexible to meet mutual needs
Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.” ― John Wooden
Excellence does not provide fulfilment. Fulfillment leads to excellence. Mutual gains occur when an employee is fulfilled and achieves the needed organizational outcomes with excellence.
To get the best out of an employee, help them discover their micro-motives, understand the future opportunities where their “super-powers” can be unleashed, develop learning and growth strategies, and focus on progress rather than the final destination.
Focusing on the future
The past provides teachable moments. Reviewing an entire year’s performance at one go is difficult. We tend to focus on the most recent issues — good or bad. Holding shorter, more frequent reviews helps employees move forward with their careers rather than continuing to look back on past accomplishments or failures.
Having the best job ever mindset
A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.” ― John Wooden
Imagine a future where every person who works for your organization believe their current job is the best job they’ve ever had! At Radio-Flyer, before an employee is hired, they receive a letter from Robert Pasin, CEO, asking them NOT to take the job unless they believe it will be the best job they’ve ever had.
When team members are passionate about their work and see their role as more than just a job, they find fulfillment in their work. As a manager, during some of the check-ins get feedback from your staff member to learn what you could do to make it the best job ever for your team member.
The standard performance reviews say more about the reviewer than the employee. It is the reviewer’s subjective assessment of an employee’s skills. Setting performance-based outcomes combat the subjectivity. Our talent analytics provides the manager and employee with insights regarding the behavioural competencies required for success in each role and how the incumbent matches these competencies. Everyone has natural strengths and challenges. Our employee development plan sets out both. Employees need to develop strategies to manage the gaps.
The narrative changes when the manager helps team member engineer passion. This includes helping them get promoted, earn their full bonus, grow for their next role, and find fulfillment. It changes what they think of that person.
Starting the process when posting the job
Traditional job descriptions prevent you from seeing and hiring the best talent. A more efficient way for you to go about achieving the best results in hiring is using our performance-based job description. You can assess how the full talent stack of candidates might contribute to delivering the best results.
Here is a summary of the reasons why you should replace your skills- and experience-based job descriptions with performance-based descriptions:
- Recruiting people motivated to take your job for career reasons
- Meeting great people, who would not have applied to you because they saw your post as a lateral transfer – they have all the skills and experience listed on your job so why change
- Motivating your new hire to do the work required, as they will know what work needs to be done before they arrive
- Turning performance discussions into meaningful planning sessions rather than painful ranking sessions
- Aligning objectives with organizational goals, so the employee knows exactly how their work contributes to the organization
- The hiring of candidates with diverse backgrounds who may tackle problems differently
- Eliminating discrimination, as people who can do the job but who do not have the skills listed will be considered
- Eliminating the talent shortage due to your narrow job specification
Quarterly Check-In Adjustments and Rewards
It still helps to have a uniform approach to making annual adjustments and provide performance bonuses. During the quarterly check-ins, your managers should answer the five questions for each team member:
Measuring the overall performance and unique value to the organization
Rank the following statement. Given what I know of this person’s performance, and if it were my money, I would award this person the highest possible compensation increases and bonus.
- Strongly Agree
- Neither Agree or Disagree
- Strongly Disagree
When the manager has their performance discussion with their boss, they should discuss their ranking and what they plan to do to fuel the employee to have maximum rewards next cycle.
When you post for a position or start a performance cycle, you need to identify the four to six outcomes for the individual that if achieved you would consider as worthy of earning the highest possible compensation increase and bonus. See starting the process with the job posting above.
Measuring the ability to work well with others
Rank the following statement — Given what I know of this person’s performance, I would always want him or her on my team.
- Strongly Agree
- Neither Agree or Disagree
- Strongly Disagree
In your coaching sessions focus on the elements that are preventing you from marking “Strongly Agree.”
Identifying if the person is achieving fulfilment
Rank the following statement — Given what I know about this person, I believe that their current job is the best job they ever had.
- Strongly Agree
- Neither Agree or Disagree
- Strongly Disagree
Identifying if the person is at risk for low performance
Identify the significant problems that might occur in their role that may harm the customer or the team. Provide this insight needs when the person starts the position. You need to revisit the potential problems and update the list at least annually. Answer each on a yes-or-no basis.
This person is ready for promotion today
Share your answers with your supervisor and the employee you assessed. You will be amazed at how these five questions get everyone on the same page.
A once-a-year, rating-based performance management processes hurt employee performance. It is disengaging the best performers. We all want our team leader to come to our side of the table, look at the world from where we are standing, and help us adjust from where we are to get better.
When you offer feedback, it must come from a place of coaching. Nobody wants feedback that judges them. However, we all appreciate having a coach who helps us course-correct to perform better. Your team members rarely want you to tell them where they stand. Employees want their manager to help them be successful.
Muster the courage to ask your employees to read this article and opine. Should we change our current performance management processes to one that creates regular discussions that focus on coaching and development, a Coaching Feedback System?
Offering employees career development opportunities is extremely beneficial
We are incredibly passionate about Behavioral DNA and the impact this scientific insight can have on your teams and your business.
Using SuccessFinder, people develop a solid and deep trust in each other and in the team's purpose — they feel free to express feelings and ideas. Everybody is working toward the same goals. Team members are clear on how to work together, how to contribute their unique strengths, and how to accomplish tasks.
Given the changes in the way organizations are operating and the shifting demographic composition of the workforce, offering career development opportunities to employees could be extremely beneficial to employers. Informal and formal learning experiences can provide employees with a more comprehensive skill set and reassurance that their employer recognizes their value. Presented with new knowledge and abilities, employees will be better prepared to handle new technologies and innovations and may be able to contribute to enhancing their organization’s systems and procedures.