My wait time in the doctor’s office was a little longer because I arrived 25 minutes prior to my appointment time. While I waited, I observed the two staff members checking in the patients. They greeted everyone who walked in with, “How are you?”
“How are you?” is part of our cultural standard greeting. Usually, the person being greeted that way will respond with “Good” or “I’m fine”. These responses appear to be standard answers to this standard greeting. So, how ARE you doing? I mean, really doing? Are you happy or sad, relaxed or stressed, energized or tired? And besides your personal well-being, how are you doing at work? Are you happy with your job and the company? Are you celebrating more successes than failures? Do you know where you stand and what is expected of you? When was the last time that you received a performance evaluation? And if you are in a supervisory position, when was the last time that you did performance evaluations with your staff to let them know where they stand?
“My staff knows when they do something wrong, because I will let them know.” This comment was made by a business owner who did not believe in performance evaluations and praise for a job well done. It was no coincidence that this business owner experienced a very high staff turnover rate. Your staff members depend on your feedback. When you let them know how they are doing, you can identify and point out areas of strengths and weaknesses. If no one is giving them feedback about their job performance and they are left to themselves, they will assume that what they are doing is correct and continue to do it this way, even though they may in fact forget an important part, which could produce mediocre results at best. And worse, in some situations, it can cause serious harm to a business with legal impact and financial loss.
Performance evaluations are a helpful tool for employers to rate employees on important aspects of the position, performance, and behaviors. A very effective part of the evaluation process is to allow the employee to rate themselves on all areas and then compare the supervisor’s ratings with the employee’s ratings and have a good discussion about each area. Setting goals for the employee and following up on the completion of these goals are critical aspects for their ongoing growth.
For example, Samantha did not participate in blog writings, although all employees were asked to write one blog per month. When asked, Samantha responded that she had never written a blog in her life and did not know how to do it. That came up in her performance evaluation. Her supervisor established the goal to a) learn how to write a blog, and b) write one blog each month. The completion date of her goal was in three months at her next performance evaluation. Samantha researched blog writing, and with the help of a few team members, who reviewed her writing, Samantha wrote her first blog. It was posted on the company’s website. Her supervisor complimented her on the great blog, and Samantha became so motivated that she delivered not only one blog, but two blogs per month. She had uncovered her writing skills and passion for blog writing, a potential and hidden talent that would not have been revealed if she did not have the performance evaluation with her supervisor.
You, too, can unleash potentials and hidden talents in your staff members by doing routing performance evaluations and seriously ask your employees, “How are you really doing?”