Performance Reviews

4 Ways to Successfully Develop Employees Year-Round

Successful performance management for individual employees and the organization involves activities that ensure goals are met efficiently and effectively. It’s an ongoing process essential to achieving the company mission that is much more than just an end-of-year performance review.

In an effort to keep employees engaged in their work and help them grow into leaders within the company, invest in them (and they’ll invest in you). Here are four ways to successfully develop employees throughout the year:

1. Set (and update) quarterly goals.

The key to actively developing employees is to set relevant, achievable goals. Rather than setting and discussing employee goals on an annual basis, optimize the development and review process by creating quarterly goals. Not only are these goals easier to set, but the results of those goals are easier to see.  

Quarterly goals are the quickest, easiest way for employees to derive meaning from what they do every day. As such, creating achievable goals and monitoring employee progress is crucial. With the rate at which we do business, some goals may no longer be relevant. Revisiting these goals every quarter highlights which goals need to be updated, ensuring that individual work goals are still applicable.

Related: 4 Ways to Help Employees Set Better Goals

2. Offer opportunities for individual growth.

Employees want training. In fact, Glassdoor’s 2014 Employment Confidence Survey of nearly 1,000 U.S. employees found that 63 percent of employees believe learning new skills or receiving special training is most important to advancing their career. Providing coaching and development activities throughout the year is an employer’s best bet to create a culture of growth within the workplace. To ensure continuous growth and improve productivity, equip employees with the tools they need to function at peak performance.

For starters, consider creating a mentorship program in which new hires work closely with a seasoned employee within their department. Doing so will get new employees on the right track sooner. Additionally, develop current employees by offering regular training programs or bringing in industry professionals for “lunch and learns.”

Most importantly, encourage employees to seek professional development opportunities outside of the workplace. Employees that aim to advance their skills in their own time will likely become great leaders and should be recognized for their efforts.   

3. Hold frequent review meetings.

Although performance management should be a continuous process, only 2 percent of employers provide ongoing feedback to their employees, a 2013 survey of 803 HR professionals by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) revealed. How can we expect our employees to improve if we only offer them constructive feedback once or twice a year?

In place of the year-end performance review that employers and employees both tend to dread, opt for a more frequent, informal review process. The purpose of the review shouldn’t be to evaluate employees, as that is the aspect of performance reviews that causes the most anxiety. Rather, it should focus on developing employees.

Try asking employees questions that target where there is room for improvement, such as, “What skills would you most like to improve on?” or “What can I do to help you?” Reviewing employee progress more frequently not only makes the process less intimidating, but it can help employers and employees set better goals for the future.

Related: Stop Delaying: 3 Surefire Ways to Do Employee Reviews Properly

4. Automate the review process.

Automating portions of the performance review process can help employers and employees alike by making more time for other aspects of employee reviews. Possibly the biggest advantage of implementing technology into the review process is making it so much easier for employees and their managers to track and measure performance year-round.

Say goodbye to the days of trying to scramble a year’s worth of necessary data for performance reviews. Automating the process makes for a more efficient performance review and fosters a comprehensive development process.

Related: Make Performance Reviews Less Dreadful With These 5 Tips