Staff reviews.

Does hearing those words give you a sinking feeling? Or maybe not. Maybe you just ignore them and hope they go away.

But you know what?

Regular staff reviews are a golden opportunity to connect with the individuals in your team. And if you do them right, your team will actually look forward to them.

That right. They’ll look forward to their reviews. And so will you.

No, I’m not crazy and I’m not a masochist. I know that most people shudder at the thought of both finding the time to review their staff, and actually conducting the review.

And I’m not going to waste your time giving you a pep talk, or tell you that you should embrace the things you don’t want to do.

I don’t need to do that.

All I need to do is give you the tools to make this a painless operation. Because with the right tools regular staff reviews are an opportunity to foster a strong working relationship, and gain critical insight into your business.

They’ll help you create a high performing team that’s highly productive and helps you increase profits. They’ll also keep morale high, staff turnover low, and patient loyalty will skyrocket.

The secret to great staff reviews is really simple. It’s just a small tweak to how you think about them.

You see, most people think staff reviews are all about critiquing or evaluating staff performance.

Staff think they’re going to receive a tiny bit of praise and a whole bunch of criticism. Managers and practice owners think they have to invest a lot of time coming up with that compliments and assessment.

We’re also all very busy and a bit lazy. So we tend not to bother with staff reviews when everything is going well.

When things are only a little bit off kilter, we think the issue will blow over.

And by the time we realise that the niggly little issue has become an enormous problem, we’re almost in need of dispute resolution services.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Conducting quarterly staff reviews can ensure that those niggly little issues are dealt with before the acquire gargantuan proportions.

All you have to do is consider them a simple chat instead of an unpleasant assignment.

Put on your coaching hat, dust off your communication skills and get ready to listen.

Expect to Coach

There are four key things to keep in mind.

  1. Replace Performance Appraisals with Employee Coaching Conferences.
  2. Focus on the Behaviour, Issue or Situation, Not on the Person
  3. Maintain the Confidence and Self Esteem of Others at all times
  4. Give Feedback in a Timely Manner

The benefits of this collaborative approach are enormous. Staff morale skyrockets, which directly impacts the care your patients receive.

Staff tell us that they actually look forward to their reviews.

And you know what practice owners tell us? They tell us that they were initially worried about taking time out of their busy days.

Those who conduct coaching conferences regularly say that they are worth their weight in gold. They increase productivity enormously.

Aim To Empower

So how do you conduct a coaching conference?

Well, first you need to leave your emotional baggage at the door, particularly if you’re addressing performance issues. Set aside your frustration along with your perception of the situation.

Your perceptions and emotions are perfectly valid, but they’re not useful when it comes to having a productive conversation.

Instead, you want to EMPOWER that person to:

  • pick themselves up
  • learn from their mistakes
  • minimise the risks going forward
  • feel like they WANT to do a great job

Seek The Answers

The aim of a Coaching Conference is to understand your staff member, what they want, what they don’t want, and to establish expectations and obligations.

This doesn’t mean that it’s a one-sided discussion. You want to ensure you establish your expectations and obligations too.

The best way to achieve this is to follow these simple guidelines.

  1. Sit facing your employee, at eye level
  2. Do not be distracted by computers, phones, charts or anything else
  3. Go deeper with follow-up questions and listen to confirm
  4. Be flexible with the conversation
  5. Explore each topic until its’ natural conclusion
  6. Take notes if required, but don’t be distracted by them

Use A Framework

Using a framework will give the conversation some structure, ensure you achieve your goals and cover everything.

Here’s the framework that I recommend.

1. Pre-frame The Discussion

Establish rapport and involve the employee in the process.

2. Question For Understanding

The traditional way to conduct staff reviews is for the manager to give their opinion, but that’s not conducive to a useful discussion. It puts a clear barrier between the reviewer and the staff member.

Staff are unlikely to share their thoughts, ideas and perspective and are more likely to feel bullied or railroaded.

So rather than telling your staff what you think of them, try asking what they think of themselves.

Most of the time their self-rating will be closely aligned to yours. When it’s not, further questioning can establish which perspective is closer to the truth.

The kinds of questions to ask includes:

  1. Tell me, what is it that you want from your time here? What drives you? What is the outcome that you’re looking for?
  2. On a scale of 1 to 10 how do you feel about your employment here?
  3. Overall, how would you rate your performance out of 10?
  4. How would you like to be performing in these areas? What do you think a 10 out of 10 looks like?

If you’re a little concerned about your team member or their performance, you might ask:

  1. How are you? Is everything okay?
  2. I noticed XYZ, what are your thoughts around that?
  3. Do you have any ideas on how you might be able to resolve this problem with xxx? Is there any way that I/we can do to support you to resolve this?
  4. What lessons can you learn from this?

3. Set Actions and Outcomes

In the last section of the discussion, you need to set the actions, outcomes and review times. Collaboratively.

Jointly agree on the Key Performance Indicators and how regularly you will review them.

Enjoy The Process

Here’s the really big secret that I’ve discovered.

Practice Owners who hold regular coaching conversations actually enjoy them.

That’s right, they enjoy them.

So if you want an elite team, ditch staff reviews and embrace coaching conferences.

Your staff turnover will decrease, productivity will increase, and profits will go through the roof.

What have you got to lose?