This blog post continues our discussion of how small businesses can become “best place to work” environments, as defined by the Gallup Organization.
#11: Someone at work has talked to me about my progress within the last six months.
This dimension speaks directly to conducting formal, written performance reviews with employees. Two reviews per year is a good guideline and consistent with the Gallup criterion. In small businesses, there is a tendency to be informal with employee reviews—sometimes too informal. As a result, the advisor may think he or she has communicated how the employee is performing, but the employee may not have heard, or possibly misunderstood, the message.
If an employee’s performance is good to outstanding, you might ask, “Why bother with formal reviews?” If an employee’s performance is under par, you may be tempted to put off having what you perceive could be a difficult conversation.
Surprisingly, when advisors conduct formal performance reviews, employees are typically receptive. After all, the vast majority of people want to do a good job. Seldom does an employee come to work thinking, “I wonder how I can do a mediocre job today?” For tenured staff members, it’s likely that all is well with job performance. Why not take the opportunity to tell those employees they’re doing great work? And if an employee has an area or two that needs improvement, this is your opportunity to address those performance gaps.
When employees are new to performance reviews, it is important to put them at ease. Think of how you make your clients feel when they come in for an annual review. Try to foster a similar atmosphere when employees meet with you for their performance “checkups.”
#12: I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow within the last year.
Considering that formal education usually ends in our early 20s, providing ongoing learning opportunities for staff—and pursuing them yourself—is critical for advisors who want their firms to stay competitive.
Although we tend to associate it with a traditional classroom experience, learning takes many different forms: mastering new software, using social media effectively, changing how we communicate with clients during review meetings, delegating something we have always done ourselves, or attending a conference, teleconference, or webinar. Numerous learning opportunities present themselves every day, but sometimes we don’t recognize them as such until we really think about it.
My last learning opportunity came when a consultant showed me a new way to conduct the first three seconds of any presentation I give. Of course, I’ll only achieve personal growth when I consistently apply the approach and make it a habit. Remember, learning something new without applying it doesn’t equal growth!
Managing Principal of Practice Management
Commonwealth Financial Network