In many workplaces, formal employee evaluations take place once per year and this usually happens just before or immediately after the holiday season. This conveniently aligns with the end of the fiscal calendar and offers several other scheduling benefits as well, since the final two or three weeks of the year are often a quiet time marked by overlapping vacations and national holidays.
But employee evaluations that take place in December shouldn’t be forgotten by July. If they don’t have enough staying power to resonate throughout the year, your follow-through strategy could probably use some work. To keep your employee evaluations active and relevant during the summer months, consider these tips.
Tips for Keeping Performance Management Alive During the Summer Season
- Create a follow-up plan and put this plan in place while the December evaluation cycle is in full swing. In other words, before you criticize, coach, counsel or warn an employee regarding his or her performance, know exactly how the manager in question will reach out during the coming weeks and months to monitor progress.
- Establish confirmation and commitment from both parties. Have both the manager and the employee sign off on the final coaching plan. Make sure both sides of the table agree to the terms and have the time, the resources, and the flexibility to attend scheduled meetings or complete any other activities the plan entails.
- Give booster shots. At some point during the summer, conduct informal mini-reviews that touch on the goals and key points of the December meeting. Even if an employee evaluation went well and no coaching plan has been warranted, give the employee and the manager an hour to touch base roughly mid-way through June. Have the manager complete a brief, informal, open-ended report on the details on the meeting and add this report to the employee’s annual file.
- Keep performance management dialogue flowing all year. Formal reviews shouldn’t be the only time of year that employees and managers discuss performance and expectations. Give employees and managers the tools they need to record performance milestones, document feedback, and acknowledge performance in appraisal off-seasons like summer. Moreover, encourage them to use these tools – not only do they serve to keep communication and coaching active during summer, but they serve as great reference material when format reviews come around.
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