Employee performance management, until recently, revolved around the dreaded annual performance review, a time-consuming exercise that usually went nowhere for both workers and managers. The annual review was more a to-do list item to be checked off than a useful tool for career development.
Thankfully, this practice is quickly going by the wayside. Modern processes are evolving to truly gauge employee performance, support career development, and offer useful insights to both managers and employees.
Riversand has adopted new performance processes that are consistent with constructive ways of approaching manager-employee reviews. We now conduct quarterly review meetings, with emphasis on company goal alignment and close attention to feedback.
While we are nearing our 20th anniversary, we still maintain a startup culture. Our objectives stay the same while pivoting to maintain our strong product and vision. As such, priorities can change due to market trends and client demands. And this can easily impact employee goals.
With a quarterly review meeting structure, managers and their direct reports focus on goals and performance over those four meetings in order to better align with broader company shifts. This structure also offers significant opportunities to consistently improve employee performance and allow our staff to meet their own career goals.
Taking charge of your career and steering the right path includes these five steps:
1. Clarify your career goals and share them with the right people.
Where do you want to be in your career a year from now? Five years? Ten years? Clearly articulating your goals will help you select the right opportunities and share them with people who can support you—your manager and your peers, among others— ultimately to help further clarify the right path to pursue.
2. Practice effective communication.
The ability to communicate clearly and concisely does not come naturally to everyone but it is a skill that can be learned. Communicating clearly includes active listening—paying attention to what’s being said and confirming your understanding—and mindful response. In written work, an organized and to-the-point style will be valuable in virtually any career.
3. Cultivate a good relationship with your manager.
When you know your career goals and are an effective communicator, engaging with your manager in productive ways comes more naturally. You will gain trust and credibility; your manager will provide constructive feedback that aligns with the direction of your career.
4. Actively engage with a mentor.
Even if your manager plays an active role in helping you with career development, having a mentor that is outside your direct management chain can further enhance your career progress. A mentor who is an accomplished leader can be outside your company or even outside your industry. But their experience and perspective can provide valuable perspective. Look to them as a source of insight and advice.
5. Say “yes” to new opportunities.
Stretch yourself to participate when new opportunities arise, especially those that are aligned with your goals. You can gain knowledge, hone your skills, and connect with people who might not otherwise cross your path.
The changes to employee development processes are worth celebrating because workers have much more influence over their career trajectories than ever before. With the direction and calibration of your career more in your own hands, you have a clearer road-map to reach your goals and take charge of your career to bring a higher level of accomplishment and satisfaction to your professional life.
Saloni Sachdev is Riversand’s Vice President and Global Human Resources Head