Providing Timely Feedback

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As 2014 gets into full swing and the realities of the upcoming year are upon us, we encourage you to take a few minutes to think about a frequently overlooked area of Human Resources, the performance review. 

Through our teaching and research initiatives, we have found that hospitality companies, especially those that employ part-time and seasonal workers, fail to provide appropriate work-related feedback on a consistent basis, if at all. To us, this seems counterintuitive, inefficient, and in the long run, will contribute to increased involuntary and voluntary turnover, as well as decreased morale, customer satisfaction, and operational performance. 

In our discussions with leaders, at least the ones that were honest about their HR shortcomings, we found three common themes to explain the lack of employee performance management. 

Insufficient Time 

For the most part, even if you conduct one review a year, the time spent researching, documenting, and sharing employees performance over a given time period will be less when compared to the time and effort needed to recruit, select, and train a replacement. This is a small price to pay for giving a valued employee real-time and accurate feedback on how they are doing. Certain types of employee feedback strategies (360-degree for example), may take more time then others, but in the end, these provide a more valid snapshot of the employee’s performance. 

Uncertainty about the Impact & Long-term Value of Performance Appraisals

In a study of Lodging industry employees during a period of low occupancy, we found that employees not only wanted feedback on their job, but it had a relationship to their overall satisfaction. Research has also shown that employees who received feedback from their supervisors are more likely to stay with an organization (not turnover) and perform their jobs more efficiently, which leads to greater customer satisfaction, loyalty, and overall profitability.

Why would a firm spend so many of their hard earned financial and non-financial resources hiring, selecting, and training an employee, but then not follow-up with how that employee is doing in their respective job? Quite often we find that it’s because there is a lack of knowledge on how to conduct valid and reliable performance evaluations, but this should not stop you from wanting to conduct them

Knowledge of How to Conduct An Appraisal

In general, the evaluation itself should last 30-60 minutes, and be conducted consistently across the workforce at pre-determined times (90-days, 6 months, annually). It should provide both positive and negative feedback for the employee on how the employee performed in relation to measurable goals that they were made aware of during their training. Additionally, this time is ideal for having a dialogue to formulate and document future goals, as well as give the employee a chance to respond to the evaluator’s comments. 

In terms of feedback, we have seen success in the process of giving employees a week to formally respond to their evaluators comment. This gives the employee the opportunity to digest their feedback, and formulate an appropriate response. 

In closing, we hope that you consider giving your employees feedback on how they are doing in their respective jobs. Research has shown that not only do they seek this, but by doing so, you make your business that much better. 

Drs B & T