How to provide constructive feedback to improve your team’s performance
A core part of an operations manager’s job is to maximize operational performance. For this, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your service technicians and communicating feedback on their individual performance is critical.
When teams understand what they’re doing well and how they can improve, managers see improvements across the board including increased efficiency, better customer feedback, and improved performance across the organization.
However, handling performance reviews is notoriously tricky and an area that many managers put at the bottom of their priority list. Challenges arise at every stage of the performance review process from identifying areas for improvement to delivering feedback that actually helps and doesn’t annoy your technicians. Here are three ways to improve the way you provide feedback to your field team.
Offer feedback regularly and consistently
The first step in providing feedback is deciding how frequently you wish to discuss with your technicians. All about their performance and communicating the decision with employees.
Traditionally, managers organize performance reviews on a yearly basis with the goal to review an individual’s performance over the preceding year. The largest benefit is providing a structured format to exchange feedback that both managers and employees are used to.
However, an increasing number of companies are moving away from yearly performance reviews. HBR estimates that over a third of companies in the U.S. have abandoned the traditional approach. Many of them opt instead for more frequent check-ins. This could be every few months, weeks, or days, or in line with significant milestones such as project completion.
One reason for a shift toward more frequent check-ins is the need to be more agile in the quick-moving modern world of business. Having more regular discussions with employees gives technicians the opportunity to discuss any issues that crop up throughout the year. And allows managers to guide technicians to overcome these issues.
Focus on future development
Traditional performance reviews are centred around discussing an employee’s past performance in relation to specific performance indicators. Yet, research shows that the traditional appraisal approach can actually have a negative impact on employee morale and even push employees away. Focusing on performance indicators such as numerical ratings can feel impersonal and arbitrary to the person receiving the feedback.
However, companies that focus performance meetings on employee development and future goals see a positive impact on their business. For example, rather than rating past performance on a scale of one to ten, managers could set goals that encourage tehri technicians to enhance their current skills, or help them work on weaker areas, without highlighting any weaknesses. By doing so, managers can turn a performance review into an opportunity for the employee to learn and develop.
Set short-term goals
Traditionally, an objective of yearly performance reviews is to set goals for employees to accomplish by the same time next year. However, with a lack of short-term goals, technicians can walk away from a review feeling demotivated. It’s easy to lose sight of long-term goals as the end point is in the distant future, and a tendency may be to continue as normal.
Short-term goals are easier to accomplish than long-term goals. Therefore, managers should consider setting short-term goals during reviews. To help motivate their teams and increase the likelihood of goal achievement. “Short-term goals” could mean quarterly, monthly, or even weekly. Depending on what works best for the business and the individual.
A final word
Providing feedback doesn’t have to be the formal and intimidating process it once was. In fact, research shows that adopting a more informal, agile, and collaborative approach to employee feedback contributes to improved performance. The key is to offer feedback as frequently as technicians require, offer positive feedback. And give technicians goals to focus on as soon as they walk out the meeting door.
See how ESS solutions can help improve your team’s performance. Try out Mobile Office Manager for free today.