Alternatives to the annual review process.
If you have employees, you probably also have a process to help them understand how they are doing on their job performance. There's a new trend in large companies to kill the annual performance review and replace it with continuous, instant feedback process.
Instant and continuous feedback is a fantastic process to help you look back at a project or period of your business to see what, why, and how things occurred and how they can be improved for the future. Taking a profit-focused view will help you get the most out of the process.This is a bit more formal process than a passing "hmm, how did we do on that project last month?" conversation in the hall. For example, if you planned your client retention rate to be 90 percent and your rate was 85 percent, you may want to take a look at why that happened. Doing exit interviews or a survey with discontinuing clients can help to explain the five percent variation.
Continuing the example, once you have done the interviews, you may have some ideas for improvement. It might be to automate some communication, increase response time, add more time for explanations, or something else. Let's say you got sick last year and lost some clients because your response time during that time was not good. This year, you can put a sick plan in place to call on a peer to help you out so your service does not suffer.
Continuous feedback requires an open mind and you will need to accept responsibility. One of the key benefits is increased accountability. The core questions to ask yourself and your team include:
- What was supposed to happen?
- What did happen?
- What worked? What should we keep doing?
- What didn't work? What are some improvements?
- What advice would you give yourself at the beginning of the year? (Or project?)
- What personal lessons did you learn?
You can also use this process in your business after each large project, to measure goals, or for a specific timeframe. Look at your first quarter performance this year. Are you on track? What improvements do you need to make for next quarter that you can work on over the summer and fall? Some opportunities include:
- Technology changes / additions or training
- Staffing changes
- Hiring process changes
- Marketing changes / additions or training
- Operations changes / additions or training
- New service or product development / new niches
- Changes in your existing services or products
- Customer retention
- Sales cycle changes or development
- Pricing evaluations
- Client surveys / communications / service level changes
The good thing about continuous feedback is that you can make it as formal or informal as you want. You can invite your team or do it yourself, although you're going to need an open, unbiased mind. Before long it will become normal and both your staff and your business will benefit, not to mention the better experience it can provide to your customers. Try it in your business, and let us know if we can help. For results you can count on, contact us at 1 844 577 7654 or at firstname.lastname@example.org We hope you find all of this useful and, as always, please keep your feedback and suggestions coming.