Industries outside of health care have led the way in shifting away from the annual performance appraisal in favor of ongoing, continuous feedback, but there are early movers making similar shifts in health care. Advisory Board's HR Advancement Center (HRAC) spoke with workforce leaders who are in the process of innovating their performance management processes to create a model that is doable for both health care leaders and staff.
During those conversations, leaders highlighted three big questions they are grappling with:
1) How can we make the annual review less of a drain on our managers?;
2) How can we make continuous feedback feasible for managers?;
3) How can we ensure that it is useful for staff?
Read on to see how early movers are answering these questions. But first, register for our Performance Review 101 webinar series. And don't miss out on the first webinar in the series, which launches today at 1pm ET.
How can we make the annual review less of a drain on our managers?
The first step in a performance management transformation is to reduce the burden of the annual review. By spending less time filling out paperwork, managers can dedicate more time to having targeted conversations that will help staff improve performance.
Here's how three different organization's cut down on the annual review.
A 3-question annual review
Virtua's 1-page annual review
University of Chicago's focal review
One health care organization pared its review down to 3-questions:
Virtua Health System cut its review down to a page by asking for strengths and development opportunities related to the system's 5-star values rather than asking for comments on each individual value. Get more details about Virtua's approach here.
University of Chicago Medical Center gives their leaders flexibility to choose which type of performance conversation they want to have (i.e., goals, basic accountabilities, values and competencies, or professional development) and when they want to have it.
How can we make continuous feedback feasible for managers?
Tracking compliance for annual reviews is already cumbersome, which makes the prospect of continuous feedback even more daunting. To pull this off, you must have realistic expectations about what "continuous" means. We recommend tying your expectation to the number of direct reports. If a manager has 60 direct reports, they'll have less one-on-one coaching conversations than someone with 10 direct reports.
For instance, when Royal Victoria Hospital decided to set expectations around continuous feedback, senior leaders set the following initial expectations: Managers with 1-39 direct reports were expected to have one-on-one coaching conversations on a monthly basis, while those with 40-79 direct reports would have bimonthly conversations and those with more than 80 direct reports would hold quarterly conversations. After the initial roll-out of the model, Royal Victoria incorporated leader feedback and adjusted how many check-ins were required. To get more details on how Royal Victoria adjusted its feedback processes register for our upcoming webinar.
At a minimum, HRAC recommends managers have a feedback- focused conversation with staff two times outside of the annual review (once every four months).
How can we ensure managers give helpful feedback to staff?
Moving toward continuous feedback is only useful if conversations help staff improve their performance. Coaching conversations should be a two-way dialogue focused more on asking the right questions to help employees surface their strengths, development opportunities, and goals. There are numerous ways to facilitate that dialogue (we've even seen a company offer leaders a deck of cards, each with questions to ask for different types of coaching conversations like difficult feedback, revising goals, or career pathing). While you don't have to go so far as to build leaders a deck of cards, we do recommend giving leaders conversation guides they can use to make their feedback meaningful and actionable.
We've compiled conversation guides for a few key coaching discussions managers may have across the year:
- A guide for delivering difficult performance feedback
- A guide for identifying the right development opportunities for staff
- A guide for supporting (and retaining) high-performing staff
To learn more on how to have effective coaching conversations, join our webinar today at 1 pm ET.
How are you innovating on your performance management strategy? What's working? And what has been a challenge? Let us know.