The Benefits of Ongoing Feedback

July 17th, 2017

Traditional approaches to employee performance evaluation typically focus around one central event: the yearly review. Once a year, employees and managers meet for a one-on-one session in which the employee is praised for the year’s accomplishments and coached and criticized regarding “areas in need of improvement”. During the critique portion of the review, mistakes from the ancient past tend to be rehashed, and setbacks that occurred months ago are subject to scrutiny, the assignment of blame, and questions like “What resources could I have provided that would have helped to prevent this from happening?”

Employees approach the session with anxiety, hoping for a “good” review and dreading a bad one. Managers typically resent the process as well, since it can be overdramatized, socially awkward, and damaging to a relationship built on professional friendship and trust. So if this process sounds familiar—and unpleasant—why not try a new approach this year? Here are some reasons to deliver feedback all year long instead of saving it up for New Years.

Toss out the drama.

The tension and high stakes of an annual performance review benefit nobody. Being put under a spotlight six months after the fact won’t help employees better enjoy the fruits of their victories, and it won’t help them learn from past mistakes. But it will make them uncomfortable. Leave the letter grading system in high school where it belongs, and treat your employees like responsible adults, not students sweating over a test.

Real-time feedback has greater impact.

If an employee botches a presentation or misses an opportunity, sit down with them and discuss the error immediately. Better yet, don’t even sit down; just point it out in the moment (in private of course), issue corrections and coaching on the spot, and move on. The reasons for the stumble will be fresh in the employee’s mind, and she/he will be better able to identify and manage these reasons when they arise in the future.

Real time feedback is easier to remember and process.

If you exchange just a few words with your employee every day or a few times per week, then by the end of the year, you will have dispensed hundreds of tips, guidelines, wisdoms and meaningful corrections. But if you try to pack a year’s worth of comments and coaching into a one-hour session and then drop it on your employee like a load of concrete, very little of your message will actually get through. Takeaways and action items are the most important part of any feedback session. Keep them flowing all year long and you’ll see steady and continual growth.

For more on how to keep your employees engaged, committed, and constantly learning, turn to the Cleveland County staffing and management team at PSU.

Not Hearing Back After an Interview?

July 3rd, 2017

You put everything you had into your interview. You practiced beforehand, researched the company, chose your outfit carefully, and created a perfect elevator pitch. And on the day of your session, you did everything right, from your eye contact to your firm handshake to your thank you note sent within 24 hours after the meeting. But weeks have gone by and you still haven’t heard back from you interviewers. What should you do next? And how can you prevent this from happening again in the future? Keep these tips in mind.

Accept that the job wasn’t a fit.

If you brought your best game to the interview and your employers just weren’t interested, it doesn’t mean you did something wrong. But if weeks have passed and you haven’t heard a peep, it’s safe to say they weren’t impressed. So let them go. The lack of connection lies on their side of the table, not just yours, and when a spark isn’t there, it just isn’t there. Forget about these employers and focus on the next opportunity. Stay in motion.

If you see a pattern, change your strategy.

If this is your first interview and you’re being brushed off, it’s no big deal. But if this is your fifth interview session and you’ve receive the silent treatment five times in a row, something’s wrong. You may think your interview performance was above reproach, but after repeated responses that all fit the same pattern, it’s time to recognize that you’re saying something, sharing something, or doing something during your interviews that’s sending up a red flag. Try talking over your approach with a friend or mentor; maybe a second pair of eyes can help you see what you’re missing.

Boost your qualifications.

You can’t go back in time and switch your high school grades from C’s to A’s. But if you’re pursuing jobs that don’t align with your qualifications, you’ll face headwinds during the job market. Be patient. For example, if you majored in chemistry but you’re looking for marking jobs, you’ll find a match, but it may take a while. In the meantime, consider taking night courses or doing some volunteer work that can help you increase and show off your business skills.

Change your target.

While you work to boost your skills so they better align with the needs of your target employers, consider changing those target employers. Maybe you’re looking for jobs in the wrong places, or setting a bar that’s a little too low, and maybe you’re overqualified for the types of jobs you’re pursuing. To fix the disconnect, aim a little higher.

For more on how to speed up your job search and win over your interviewers, reach out to the Charlotte career management team at PSU.

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