It’s time we have a talk.

I’m curious – how well was your year in 2015? How well did your team members perform? Did you do a year-end wrap up with your team members?

If you didn’t, it’s okay. The beginning of the year is a great time to start talking with employees about past performance and establishing goals for the year ahead. I know, I know … You’ve heard this before. Do you know why this is important? It’s not about the company. It’s not about you. It’s about THEM, the employees. People want to know how they’ve done. They want to know what they can do in the future. They want to know if you’re pleased with their work. There are four steps to employee engagement. [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@peoplesavvy” hidden_hashtags=”#engagement #HR” display_mode=”button_link”]4 Steps to Employee Engagement![/tweetthis] Here’s this list, and it’s written in the employee’s voice:

#1 – What’s in it for me?

#2 – Do I understand the company’s/project’s goals?

#3 – Do I understand how I contribute to the success of those goals?

#4 – Do I feel rewarded and recognized for my contributions?

So now that you’re thinking about engagement, you’re ready to talk about past performance and future goals. You DO NOT have to have a fancy performance management program to have this important conversation. It can be as simple as the topics below.

  • Whether you set annual goals or not for 2015, talk with your team members about the work they did to achieve the goals. Ask them what they did too, because you might not remember everything.
  • Did everything stay on track? Should your expectation of performance be adjusted because business needs or work demands changed? Is the employee having a hard time getting support from colleagues or other partners to achieve goals?
  • If you didn’t set goals – and that’s completely fine! – spend some time talking about the employee’s “day job”. Operationally, did the employee achieve all of the tasks needed by the business? If there were over-achievements acknowledge them! Nothing feels better than giving good news except for maybe receiving good news from your manager!
  • If there were short comings, talk with the employee about your perspective of the short comings. Let the employee talk about his/her perspective on the topic. Work together to figure out the next steps to resolve any discrepancies or efforts for improvements. Set a timeline for the next check point you want to have with your team member about a short coming – when will you meet again; what are the measures you’ll use to determine improvement; and what support is needed to make the employee successful.
  • Another topic to cover is about the health of your business. Be “bragadocious” if you had a good year! Explaining to employees the health of the business helps the employee gain visibility to the overall company and how an employee can contribute to the business success

The aforementioned bullet is a great lead-in to talk about what is your business plan for 2016. If you have a goal in your business (a Big Hairy Audacious Goal! aka BHAG) ask the employee to help you. That’s right. Ask the employee to help contribute to the success of your business! Why would you do that?!? Their job is to help you, right? People like to feel needed. People like to hear that they can make a difference. If you position a goal discussion in a way that draws in the employee’s interest and conveys that their skills are needed – the reward will be that they contribute to the success of the business.

Don’t believe me? Try it.

When you’re finished reading this post, go to your calendar and schedule these meetings. Then schedule 3 more meetings throughout the year. Do it now before there are competing priorities. Having conversations is a good practice and they’re more effective if you have them at least a few times per year. You decide the topics, the amount of time for each meeting, and the action items.