When you have the honor of working with multiple companies and thousands of sellers and managers each week, you gain a unique perspective. There is a feeling you get, sometimes inexplicably, of teams that are on fire, cohesive and performance-driven. It's also easy to identify those that are not. Just this week, I had the pleasure of participating in the fall learning event for just such a team — one that is on fire. It was inspiring.
In a white paper entitled: Reap What you Sow: How fostering a culture of ongoing performance reviews drives growth from the Cornerstone Group, they share three things necessary to shift from performance reviews to a performance culture:
Make performance discussions ongoing. Establish regular check-ins with employees to discuss goals, performance benchmarks and measure employee progress. Use these less formal chats as a chance to embrace employee feedback.
Align employee goals with company objectives. Just 7% of employees understand their company's goals or how they fit into them. Managers need to communicate the organization's goals so that team members can see how their work fits in the bigger picture.
Offer training to boost skills. The global workforce lists "an opportunity to grow" as one of their top needs. Managers having weekly informal reviews (in our radio world we call these one-on-ones), can discuss learning opportunities that help build the skills identified during the discussion.
The report suggests that a lack of training has devastating consequences. Organizations with only a minimal investment in talent development see 74% lower profit margins and no training leads to a 35% higher turnover rate. The traditional approach of company-provided training boosts retention by 93% and improves morale. The company I was with this week has two all-staff training opportunities each year and a myriad of individual market training events. They are committed to a high-performance, growth-minded culture — and it shows.
We are coming up on the time where annual performance reviews are still a routine part of company life. At the same time, one study found that 95% of employees are dissatisfied with the process and 90% don’t believe they provide accurate or useful information.
In our industry, I believe we have been ahead of this curve with weekly one-on-ones and check-ins with our sellers. Have we also included programming and the business office in this process? Are we checking in regularly with them? It seems more frequent, less formal check-ins can have some amazing results. According to a study from the Brandon Hall Group, companies that switch from yearly evaluations to a culture of ongoing, less formal reviews see:
70% increase in revenue
72% decrease in turnover
54% boost in customer satisfaction scores
Sounds like important enough results to consider changing our approach.
Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.