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Turn Your Team Member Evaluation into a Team Collaboration

Robin Walters | March 18th, 2021

The world of work is changing. Traditional attitudes toward carrot and stick management are over. Instead, employers that want to attract and retain the best talent need to take a more collaborative approach toward managing team member performance.

How can employers turn traditional team member evaluations into more of a collaboration that engages their workforce in the success of the company mission? Can employers create a new kind of performance management system that retains their workforce longer? The answer to both of these questions is yes—and if you want to attract a better-quality workforce this approach is a necessity, not an option.

Attitudes About Work are Changing

In case you hadn’t noticed, attitudes about work are changing. For example:

  • The idea of the candidate experience is now a buzzword.
  • HR teams realize that recruiters must also be brand evangelists. Every candidate interaction matters to the community’s perception of your brand.
  • More workers realize they can make a go of independent contracting. However, only about one-half of the 7.7 million independent workers today took on freelancing as a choice.
  • Then there are the millennials, who now make up the majority of the workforce. Millennials tell us they care more about the social good a company is spreading over the salary they might be offered.
  • At the same time, the latest data shows our trust in large bureaucratic institutions like the government and higher education, is eroding.

It’s an interesting time for HR teams, particularly at enterprise organizations struggling to fill some of the hard-to-find positions in IT, engineering, and finance.

The past year has allowed many of us the time to refocus on what’s important. Many companies, including AWH, shifted their workforce to remote operations and found that not only was productivity enhanced, but culture didn’t suffer.

All of these trends are creating what global recruiting firm Hays calls “a demand for greater humanity in our workplace.” For employers, these trends should signal a new approach to traditional management tools, including their team member evaluation process. Why? Because the reality today is that your best team members have choices and they know it, particularly if you’re in the technology field.

For employers to attract and retain the best and brightest, it’s time to look at the traditional ways of measuring productivity in the workforce. This speaks to turning the traditional team member evaluation into more of a team member collaboration process. How can organizations change their approach to this type of standard performance metric? How can this benefit your company?

A New Way to Manage Team Member Performance

Managing team member performance isn’t new. Most companies still conduct a traditional evaluation process of some sort. Many companies even moved to the idea of continuous performance management to improve productivity, egged on by companies like Google and Amazon. But the imperfect process of managing team member performance is missing one big idea: Today’s workforce wants authentic relationships between managers, team members, and the company they serve in.

Very few companies get there. We know this because the latest data shows only 36% of the workforce is engaged. We also know that 65% of the workforce believe they can find a better position elsewhere. By 2030, the lack of team member retention will cost American companies more than $430 billion. I believe a more collaborative performance management process can help with all of these statistics.

Performance management should begin with the goal of creating a positive work environment where the team member wants to succeed. While we know that not all retention is the “right retention,” every effort should be made at the front-end of the hiring process to get it right every time you hire. Finding A-players and keeping them engaged for years takes deliberate effort. But a thoughtfully designed recruiting process coupled with a collaborative approach to goal-setting throughout the team member’s tenure, will improve the their experience and ultimately increase organizational engagement and productivity.

The elements of a collaborative performance management environment should include:

  • Development of a team member career roadmap that lays out the wants, needs, and priorities for every new hire.
  • A 360-review process that allows for peer feedback.
  • Clear and attainable individual goals that the team member and manger develop.
  • A way to link team member goals with the success of the department and the organization.
  • A regular system of rewarding team members for their efforts.
  • Consistent feedback and monitoring in a continuous learning and improvement environment.
  • Coaching and mentorship.

A traditional annual evaluation isn’t enough anymore. Your team members want to be engaged in their work—I can’t state this strongly enough. It’s important for employers to not only engage their workforce by creating a more collaborative improvement environment, but to also provide their managers with the training they need to pull this off. Too many companies assume that once a team member reaches the managerial level, they’ve naturally accrued the skills of coaching, skills building, and collaboration. Consider how many team members leave because of conflict with their managers and you’ll know that we’re getting this one wrong.

It’s well past time for employers to approach the team member/worker contract as a two-way street. From the recruiting process to employment, everyone in your organization should be all-in and working on self-improvement as well as the achievement of your corporate goals. Employers can achieve this level of engagement by turning the traditional team member performance review process into a more collaborative approach. If you’re interested in attracting the best talent, there’s simply no other way to succeed.