The Yearly Review Process Is Upon Us

Cartoon of an employer during a performance review

What have we accomplished this year? Annual reviews are upon us so we must take stock of our achievements and, more importantly, develop our expectations for 2014 and beyond.

This year, I challenged the director team by putting their goals on the white board in my office. They were to share those goals with their departments and report back as each item was completed. Through this mechanism my hope was that we would not only have a broad, real-time picture of what we were accomplishing, but that we would also have a greater sense of how each department needed to support other departments throughout UTS.

It has been a useful exercise, if for no other reason than to remind me that each director manages his or her department differently. There is no one right way to lead or manage, and I find that I appreciate the unique styles of my directors and their managers. Still, it remains a daunting task to try to track progress towards our goals on a regular basis. None of the variety of techniques we have tried over the years has really proven itself to be satisfying.

With that in mind, I want to revisit the way we do performance reviews, certainly not during this performance review season, but for next year. In my opinion, we took a big step forward several years ago when we left behind the old Adobe PDF form we used to use and went to Sonar 6. We missed the mark somewhat by making Sonar 6 too complicated, though. In revisiting performance reviews, we probably all want Sonar 6 to be simpler to use, but I would also like to make sure we can do two other things that I think are important. I would like to retain the ability to tailor the reviews to people’s unique job family and I want to build more on the evaluation and development of our strengths. The new HR director, Rob Renner (IT F&A), has an outstanding background in the performance review process. When he begins in early July, John Connerat (IT F&A) and I have agreed that a terrific first project for him will be revising our review process.

To assist Rob in that effort and to make sure that we are able to build some of our desired attributes into the system, I have already suggested to the managers going through their training courses that I would like for some of them to help design the new system and incorporate their strengths based training. Similarly, I would like to invite all staff to be very aware of what is working and what isn’t working with this year’s review process. Then, as we get into the August or September time frame, I will ask for staff to participate as well so that we can have a system that was designed by and for a multitude of intelligent perspectives.

Thank you for another good year in UTS. I am frequently impressed by what our division can accomplish. As we begin self-evlauations in the next few weeks and work toward the final deadline on August 11th, let me ask each of you, as I have done before, to capture the true value of the review process by really spending time in honest self-reflection. But, in anticipation of next year’s reviews and the training each of our managers has received this year, let me ask you to also consider where your deepest strengths lie and how you can offer more hours of those very best talents each week. I believe that is the key for ongoing happiness in your current role and growth toward whatever individual hopes and dreams you may have.

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One Comment

  1. Shawn Mitchell
    Posted July 3, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I throughly enjoyed your insights, that were explained simply, to the point, and with passion regarding Sonar 6. As a custodian at Emory University, we are not overly encouraged to complete a self-evaluation, and I think we should be. I have been told that there is not much for custodians to put into the Sonar 6 and that most of the questions do not and can not pertain to us. I believe that each person has particular strengths, determinations, and gifts that we all can contribute to our jobs, and communities. The Sonar 6 should be based upon our particular jobs, trainings, and individual strengths. I see a yearly review, an evaluation, to be a basic dynamic for individual and job related growth. I want to thank you for sharing your message, I throughly enjoyed reading your view points.

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