Sunday is Mother’s Day.
The one day a year many of us recognize the 20+ years of service and effort Mom (or Mum as they say on the other side of the pond) put into making sure you were a contributor to society and not a drag on it.
Sunday is the one day a year that you tell her how you feel. The one day you tell her how you’re thankful she’s in your life and how much you care. It is the one day you make sure you call or at least shoot a SMS message with a smiling emoji to let her know – “Hey Mom – thanks. Thinking of you and here’s $20 – go buy yourself something nice.”
Yep – Mother’s Day – 24 hours out of 8760 available each year when you put aside the other important things in your life like Candy Crush Saga, RHONY, The Peoples Couch and Game of Thrones (well – maybe not Game of Thrones – can you believe Joffrey?) It is during those 24 hours on Sunday when you take extra time to reward your Mother, validate her and make her feel special.
And then you can go back to ignoring her for another 364 days because why not? She had her day right? Why should she get more than one day a year – you don’t. Oh sure, every day is “children’s” day they tell you when you’re growing up. But we know that’s a lie. No one every paid attention to you every day. No one made sure you were fed and clothed and housed. Never. Happened.
Hey – Mom get’s one day a year and she ought to be glad she gets it.
As you’ve guessed already – since this is a blog about things HR and Talent related – I’m not really talking about Mom or about Mother’s Day. I’m talking about the whole “annual review process” and how we communicate an employee’s value to the company.
I’m talking about the time we spend making sure our #1 business differentiator is connected to the company and the company’s mission. I’m talking about that one time each year where we focus on the employee – that one (1) hour out of 2000 that we talk to them about all the good stuff we think they did – usually with some bad stuff in the middle because someone told us once we should sandwich good and bad stuff together to make a really poor tasting performance sandwich and make that one hour really memorable for the employee. And of course much, much easier for you.
Just like Mother’s Day shoves all that discussion of appreciation of your mother into one day a year – the performance appraisal process is really an efficiency play right? If you do it one day a year you don’t have to do it the other days of the year.
Sounds like Mother’s Day to me. If you pick the best buffet in town and pay for both your meal and hers, you are good to go for another year until Mom’s Day rolls around again. Efficient? Yes. Simple? Yes. Effective? Not so much.
It’s Should Be About Reminiscing not Reviewing
Here’s a thought.
Make the performance review less about reviewing your opinion on their performance and more about reminiscing about all the talks and discussions and experiences you’ve had with your employee over the course of the year. Don’t make it about new information – make it about old times, memories and shared experiences. I know when I celebrate Mother’s Day with my Mom, it isn’t so much me telling her how much I care as it is an “us” discussion about the things we did together – both bad and good – the shared things. We don’t really say things we’ve never said before on Mother’s Day but relive the things we’ve always said and done.
And reviews should be similar “celebrations.”
Reviews should be about remembering the discussions, the shared experiences (both bad and good) that you and the employee find valuable in your relationship.
Sure, have your day – your “performance evaluation” day – but make it a celebration of the prior 1999 hours you’ve had together and the work you’ve both been doing together and not the one time a year they hear they’re doing well (or not…)
Now – Spoiler Alert! This approach does mean that you might actually have to be connected during the year and have some shared experiences. You might, as a manager, have to have more contact during those other 1999 hours. You just might have to get your hands dirty and get out of the office once in a while and actually talk with, and work with, your employees so you have some “shared experiences” to reminisce about.
You can wait until next year and hastily find a nice place to eat and go through the whole performance sandwich dance – or not – because they left. Get out there – share some experiences. Start to build up the memories you can reminisce about during Employee Day next year.
Happy Mother’s Day. (BTW – she never really liked that perfume you’ve been giving her since you were 6 but she is too nice to tell you. I’m not too nice. She really wants good bourbon and she wants you to send it to me so I can give it to her… really.)
Paul Hebert is Vice President of Individual Performance Strategy at Creative Group Inc, writer, speaker and consultant. Paul focuses on influencing behaviors and driving business results through employees, channel partners and consumers. He is dedicated to creating true emotional connections often overlooked in our automated, tech-enabled world. Using proven motivational theory, behavioral economics and social psychology he has driven extraordinary company performance for his clients. Paul is widely considered an expert on motivation, incentives, and engagement.