Year end reviews are usually terrible. It's a long complicated form from Human Resources that seems designed to be a complete CYA move. My last form had "demonstrates ethical behavior" on a scale of 1 to 10. I mean come on, can you be only partially unethical?

I'd rate him a 3; he wouldn't kill anyone, but he sure steals stuff all the time.

I was determined to find something that didn't suck and would actually tell me something about my team. The hard conversations managers need to have about performance should be occuring throughout the year. I needed to find something more interesting for the middle of the year.

I am inspired by the management side of Deloitte Consulting's new process (my former employer), which is also chronicled in Harvard Business Review.

At its core (TL;DR): We ask leaders what they’d do with their team members, not what they think of them.

There are essentially a few key questions:

  1. Given what I know of this person’s performance, and if it were my money, I would award this person the highest possible compensation increase and bonus [measures overall performance and unique value to the organization on a five-point scale from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”].
  2. Given what I know of this person’s performance, I would always want him or her on my team [measures ability to work well with others on the same five-point scale].
  3. This person is at risk for low performance [identifies problems that might harm the customer or the team on a yes-or-no basis].
  4. This person is ready for promotion today [measures potential on a yes-or-no basis].

So then I was thinking, but what about the 360 or self evaluation? Can we ask a similar set of questions for the team to answer?

  1. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day [5-point agree]
  2. My coworkers are committed to doing quality work [5-point agree]
  3. The mission of our company inspires me [5-point agree]
  4. I have the chance to use my strengths every day [5-point agree]
  5. I am in a position to achieve my personal career goals [5-point agree]
  6. Comment form

This resulted in a very simple and effective year end process. It cuts through all the bull shit.

You'll notice I am not asking people lots of questions and when ask employees for their side; it isn't a traditional self-evalution.

I believe I am ethical. No, I'm not lying.

Instead, we ask employees about their team. This tell us about other weak points and manager weak points. Manager weak points are the worst to have (worse than individual contributors), so it is important to find this. This set of questions tells you if people WANT to work hard and feel likeworking hard is actually working for them.

Use these at your own caution!

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash