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January 17, 2020

The right way to manage your staff's performance (and an easy-to-use tool to help)

Daily Briefing

    Each year, health care organizations across the country conduct an annual review process—but as many organizations outside of the health care sector have already discovered: performance tracking shouldn't be a once a year activity.

    As you head into 2021, make a commitment to tracking and sharing employee feedback year-round.

    The appeal of continuous feedback

    For many organizations, the annual review cycle is the only time managers provide critical performance feedback and discuss future career plans with their direct-reports. But it's no secret that health care organizations, managers, and staff have started to dread the annual review period.

    That's why health care organizations across the country are working to deemphasize the annual review and instead, are experimenting with continuous feedback. With a continuous feedback structure, managers can track staff performance and regularly meet with direct reports to address their strengths and areas for development throughout the year.

    Advisory Board's HR Advancement Center's (HRAC) research has found continuous feedback makes the annual review process faster for managers.

    Discussing staff performance on a continuing basis means managers no longer have to recall 12 months of strengths and critical feedback for every employee at the conclusion of the year, freeing up time for managers to think about staff development and other tasks.

    But while most health care staff and managers see the value in continuous feedback, the shift can be a tough one to make, especially when most of their managers are overseeing a large number of employees.

    Tips for tracking reviews year round

    That's where having a system in place to track and share progress with multiple reports can pay off.

    HRAC's Ongoing Performance Tracker tool, for instance, allows managers to track and record staff performance data year round in a single place. The tool enables managers to address and record accurate feedback on employees' strengths and areas for improvement as they surface.

    How does it work? The spreadsheet is pre-populated with employees' names and performance categories, giving managers an easy-to-access place to log employee feedback the moment it surfaces. This can include any awards received through employee recognition programs, feedback from peers, or direct observation.

    The ongoing performance tracker can also make it easier to share feedback with staff when you have development conversations. For instance, managers can use the tool to mark the feedback as representing a "Strength" or "Development opportunity" for the employee to make it easier to review and sort the comments before a meeting with a direct report or during an annual review.

    When it's time to complete an annual review, having compiled feedback in one place will make your life easier and make your annual reviews more accurate, since you will no longer have to remember your direct report's strengths and development opportunities for the entire year.  

    It will also free up time for you to initiate more focused and thorough conversations when the annual review cycle does come around, so you can better encourage staff and help them improve.

    Want to get started on tracking and sharing year-round performance? Click here to access the Ongoing Performance Tracker tool. And for a deep dive on ways to better evaluate your staff's performance, watch these webinars:

    How to coach staff year-round

    How one organization revamped their performance assessment process

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