Employee Evaluation – Giving Feedback

VP HR of a big Hi-Tech company contacted us toward the annual employee evaluation process. This process is very important to her. It is an opportunity to create focus, to give feedback and have constructive discussions between employees and managers. Every year she runs a structured process: Every manager lists each employee achievements in the last year.  The manager creates a list of good points and points for improvement. On top of that – every year the key corporate messages are presented by her to all the managers. She expects every manager to present the vision and next year expectations to the employees.

Every year she faces complains and frustration of employees after the process. It turns out that the actual happening in the meeting between the manager and the employee is very different than what she has imagined. The managers are avoiding conflicts. They avoid delivering clear messages and resort to vague statements. Management expectations toward next year are presented as something external. The managers to not back the process. They prefer to identify with the employees and hint that any confrontation is forced on them by top management.

The result of this process is completely different than her expectations. On several cases the result of the process are destructive. Disconnect and lack of trust is created. Cynicism against the process and the feedback is spreading. Unintentionally, managers are diminishing their leadership and present an image of followers instead of leaders.

This year the VP HR wanted to improve the capabilities of the managers to deliver feedback and to provide them with tools that will turn the employee evaluation meetings into a sincere and constructive discussion. She wanted to give more room for each manager to present his vision and to strengthen the shared responsibility of the managers.

The problem was everywhere and manifested itself almost on every management team. Using a long process of training in every management team facilitated by an expert consultant was not practical. The time it would take, the cost and the investment required was way over the available budget.

Our Crowd Source process and the Tact game is a perfect solution that enables touching every corner of the organization with low investment and drive a rapid change while engaging, empowering and collaborating with the managers.

We selected a few examples of employee feedback messages and loaded them into the Crowd Source platform. We loaded also the corporate key messages for this year employee evaluation into the platform. Every manager received a link to the platform. Through that link the manager could access the platform and list messages he would like to deliver in the upcoming evaluation meetings. The messages were anonymous. The manager name and the employee name were not recorded. Every manager could also view all the massaged collected so far. This way every manager could get ideas and get a sense of the quality and sincereness of the massages his peers are planning to deliver in the upcoming employee evaluation meetings. Every manager could record an unlimited number of messages. A constructive feedback loop started and the data base filled with more and more messages. It was evident that the openness and readiness to deal with complex messages was growing.

Knowing that the messages collection will be used to create a unique game that will be played during the process of preparation for the employee evaluation increased motivation and engagement and stimulated the creation of this feedback messages database.

The VP HR managed all the process and the messages collection from the management console of our platform.  She edited messages, screened messages and even added her own messages. The exposure and overview of messages from all around the organization gave her a unique point of view of the organization. We generated a report analyzing the messages based on group and message types and highlighted groups that need special attention.

We prepared the Flip Cards. The Flips contained guidelines and tips for giving feedback.  Each Flip contained a guideline, tips and some examples.

The messages were embedded in the game. Each management team had a unique game that was customized especially for that team. Each manager spent 2 hours playing the game with all the managers reporting to him. Each manager in the organization – 1’st line managers through VPs and the CEO had the opportunity to play in a game that was customized especially for him.

In the game the players tried to collect as many coins as they can. Each player drew a card that contains one of the messages that were previously collected. In order to win a coin the player had to hold a 2 minutes discussion with another player and deliver the message. After 2 minutes the two players were silent and the rest of the players discussed the message delivery and proposed improvements. They used the Flip Cards in order to analyze the message delivery and offer improvements and additional insights.

Every manager had the opportunity to watch messages delivery and practice delivering a message himself. On some cases a manager saw someone else delivering a message he wrote and took part in the group discussion, On some cases a manager was delivering a message he registered earlier.

After the game ended each manager was allowed to take the Flip Cards. We asked the managers to use the Flip Cards as a planning tool, and use them to plan message delivery before the actual meeting with the employee takes place.

We allowed managers to register for another game session in order to practice some more and gain confidence. More than 30% of the managers registered for another game session.

A new spirit was evident during this year employee evaluation process. The management teams at all levels were unified and motivated. The employees felt that this year something has changed.

Dilemma example:

My best employee developed a tendency to be late to meetings. I talked with him and he said that since he is the cornerstone of our group achievements he expects me to be more flexible with him. Other employees noticed his behaviour and I am concerned that it is also diminishing my leadership.

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