If you stepped out from your desk and took an informal poll of your IT team and its management, you’d be hard-pressed to find one person who actually likes the traditional performance review process. Shoving an entire year’s worth of work into one stress-laden meeting between supervisor and supervisee is stressful for everyone, and there is a great deal of research to show that traditional reviews do nothing to improve productivity or performance.
A more effective approach for increasing engagement, improving performance and increasing productivity is to embrace a culture of ongoing, two-way feedback. When managers check in with employees regularly to reinforce good behavior and improve upon bad behaviors, real results follow.
The Power of Real-Time Feedback
Sitting down in December to discuss performance issues that happened in March makes little sense. Things move quickly in IT and talking about the good and bad of a project that closed nine months prior is a waste of time and breath. Employees can’t fix a behavior that occurred in the past, and if they have spent months repeating that action or behavior, it has become engrained in the way they do their job. Team members can often feel blindsided in annual reviews when past mistakes are dredged up, which puts them on the defensive and limits their willingness to receive constructive criticism.
Far more impactful are ongoing mini-sessions where managers provide feedback about what the employee is doing well and the areas in which they need to improve. The manager can provide the employee with an action plan and short-term goals to help reinforce the good and eliminate the bad. Over time, as the employee improves, they will feel a better sense of engagement and a feeling of satisfaction that they are making progress in their position.
Feedback Must Be A Two-Way Street
Traditional review processes leave employees without a voice. They are typically given space and time to provide feedback, but it’s impossible to tell if team members are being honest and candid. If the annual review is tied to a raise, few people are willing to provide honest and constructive feedback to their managers.
Regular feedback sessions should be two-way streets. IT managers should ask every team member what they need from team and company leadership to help improve and achieve their goals. More importantly, they should be willing to listen. Managers may not be able to get employees what they need, but the mere act of listening and trying can go a long way towards establishing trust and building stronger relationships.
If your organization is looking to improve IT recruiting and retention, and you’re looking for forward-thinking professionals to help you cultivate a feedback culture, the experts at CSS are here for you. Our recruiters can help you develop strategies that will ensure strong matches for your organization. Contact us today to learn how we can help you achieve your tech recruiting goals.