It is now 12 months since my first article as Mentoris and, in looking over my columns to date, I hope I have helped you in some way to improve your business or personal life with some of my thoughts.

On re-reading the previous articles, it struck me that although I have evaluated them, I have not had the pleasure of a review of my performance by the hierarchy at Optician. I am sure that if you conducted a quick straw poll of business-owners, managers, and employees, you’d be hard-pressed to find many fans of performance reviews.

Yet we know from watching elite sports, for example, that regular review and appraisal of performance is an essential ingredient to become world class at what you do. The same applies to business; having a performance review system is an important tool for bringing the best out of you and your people.

Why review performance?

Regular performance appraisals are an essential part of creating the right culture in the business. People need to know that they are making a positive contribution and they also need to know if they are not quite ‘hitting the spot’ in terms of that contribution. Here are my top five reasons why, as an ‘employee’ of Optician, I would like to have my performance appraisal:

Feedback

I need feedback to know whether my articles have been well received by the readership. I want this feedback to be a positive experience and the system I would like to use for this is the model ‘WWW.ebi’ which stands for ‘what went well ; even better if…’. Using this acronym will recognise where my performance has been effective and also identify where it might be improved upon. It will keep the conversation on a positive footing, which is essential if I am to be motivated to continually improve the articles.

A chance to be heard

I would like the opportunity to have my say. As an ‘employee’ I want to have a creative conversation about my ideas on how we could improve this column for the readers and the performance appraisal is an ideal opportunity to do this. Talking through my thoughts with my manager may well uncover a gem of an idea which can be implemented to improve the business.

Plan my future growth

Like most people, I want to progress. I’d like a chance to see what opportunities may come my way in future and what I need to do to be considered for such opportunities. I also want to ask questions about the business to understand how I can make my contribution more relevant and useful to the organisation. What other projects might be in the pipeline and what changes are afoot that might affect my role.

Maintain motivation and morale

Maintaining open lines of communication enhances working relationships, encourages collaboration, and raises morale. Like anyone else, I need to feel motivated to write my column each month. I know from experience and from reading research, that performance is lower in organisations that don’t conduct reviews. So it makes sense for me to want a review as I wish to be part of a successful and thriving company.

Understand more about myself

Self-development is key for individuals to feel they are making progress in their role. This is true for all people with aspirations to improve their performance and progress. Lifelong learners want to improve their skills and knowledge, as well as their engagement with the company’s vision.

Looking back over a person’s work history helps to identify whether they are ready to assume greater responsibility or need further training to fill any skills gaps. Keeping an ongoing record of an employee’s strengths and weaknesses enables you to fine-tune a career path within the company where they can put their talents and interests to best use.

By taking an interest, your people will be more invested in the business and, by promoting internally, the company will retain all the organisational knowledge they have built up.

Target training and development

In the modern business world, employees need to not only be up to date but be one step ahead. Industry best practices and new technology are especially important in our profession as we grapple with new ways of working. By demonstrating your commitment to your team, you will boost motivation, confidence and self-esteem, all of which are the right ingredients to help move your business forward.

Engagement

In recent years ‘staff engagement’ has become a buzz word in the field of human performance at work. In our knowledge-based economy, working a number of hours for a set amount of pay doesn’t work.

For people to be engaged with the business they need to feel part of a wider purpose, a sense of self determination in terms of being able to make decisions and the ability to carry out their role in the best possible way.

When did you last have an appraisal?

So if you haven’t had your appraisal, why not ask ‘why?’ Far from being something to avoid, performance appraisals should be enjoyable, open and motivational.

Till next time (after my appraisal!)