Let’s talk about performance reviews.
I’m feeling some withdrawals right now. Baseball should be in full swing (no pun intended). One of the fascinating aspects of Major League Baseball is the hitting coach. Think about it. You have professional athletes making millions of dollars, yet teams still employ a coach to monitor their hitting performance. Regardless of how successful a batter is, they all need feedback to help them improve their game.
The same is true with dealership employees. We all need to be held accountable and given insight on how we can improve. Employees need feedback. They want to know how they are performing. Performance reviews give you a scheduled, standardized process to help you coach your team to success. Remember, process solves operational issues.
In order to conduct a performance review, you’ll want to use the Leadership Cycle. This cycle contains four parts: Measure, Analyze, Plan and Implement.
The first part is Measure. Every successful performance review begins with analyzing current performance against goals, targets, or established benchmarks. Nothing is good or bad until you compare it to something else, and the more you can use cold, hard facts to calculate performance, the more successful you will be.
Next, you need to analyze. This is an extremely important part of the Leadership Cycle. It’s tempting to jump right into the issues the employee may have, and there is a good chance you will be right. The problem with this is that your performance review becomes a 1-way1 way conversation. The employee is not engaged. All solutions will be yours, and you may not even be focusing on the real issue. Instead of jumping right in, use questions to get the employee to open up. You can use this insight to help coach. Think of it as a performance review needs analysis.
Next, you need to plan. A successful performance review always includes a plan. Without this in place, you are really just having a conversation with the employee. Your objective is to improve performance, and current behaviors need to be correct in order for that to occur. Your plan should include the learning practice, role-play, etc that you and the employee agree will help with any performance gaps. In addition, you are going to want to put a deadline to this plan.
The final part of this cycle is Implement. Once you’ve identified the gaps in performance and determined the steps that need to take place for it to be corrected, you need to hold the employee accountable to implement the plan. This is one reason why a deadline is so important. Concrete steps and deadlines are necessary for you to hold the employee accountable.
It’s important to note that a performance review shouldn’t be all about the bad. You need to engineer time in the process to celebrate wins. This is a great opportunity to build rapport and credibility with your employees. You’ll be surprised how far this goes.
Everyone needs performance reviews. Regardless of how high an employee is performing or how successful they are at their job, regular, scheduled feedback can help them identify opportunities to improve.
Processes solve all operational issues. Having a performance review process will help your organization implement other initiatives. Employees become hyper focused on the quotas that they are being held accountable to. Build and execute a performance review process in your dealership.