Friday, August 6, 2010
Performance Review Tips
Performance reviews shouldn’t be feared. Instead it should be viewed as an opportunity to gain shared understanding. Think of a review as a feedback session. Although yearly reviews are typical, I recommend more frequent meetings to set goals, evaluate progress, identify strengths and challenges. The goals set with caring for an infant aren’t the same as those you’d set in caring for a toddler or preschooler. So checking in frequently is important.
Performance appraisals are a two way street. Listening is critical. Employers need to hear the employee’s views, suggestions or comments. The nanny family relationship and employment situation is unique; the best interests of children bring both the nanny and family into a special partnership and require teamwork. Thus the performance review is an opportunity for everyone to share and set mutual goals, as well as individual ones.
There are four main focus points during a performance review.
1) Setting clear goals
2) Follow through on goals
3) Review and reflect on how things went
4) Setting new goals
Setting clear goals includes writing them down in a manner in which they can be performed and assessed. Vague concepts will not help anyone. For example if the parents and nanny determine that potty training is appropriate for the child; then deciding on the steps to that goal, agreement for consistency and tracking progress needs to be determined. If the goal was appropriate the results will be obvious. If the timing was off or the method wasn’t a good choice for the child then re-evaluation is needed. Goals should have appropriate time frames attached to them and should be mutually decided upon by both parties.
Follow through on goals allows for everyone to take action. Clearly define what action is to be taken and when. Again, allow for appropriate time to meet each goal. Tracking progress is an asset later when the goal is reviewed. In thinking about our potty training example, both the nanny and parents are working toward the same goal with agreed upon parameters. Now in the action stage keeping a log of progress can really help not only the adults but the child as well.
The assessment stage is an opportunity to review and reflect on the goals. Looking over progress logs or notes helps bring details to light. In our example with the potty training there will be obvious outcomes. There is value in assessing a lack of progress or disappointments along the way as well. These can help in refocusing a new goal or putting things “on hold” until a later time. Again in the potty training example, everyone may conclude that the child just wasn’t ready or that situations beyond everyone’s control prevented success. Reflection and review can help everyone distinguish the next steps.
The circle is complete when new goals are set. There’s nothing more rewarding than checking off a goal and starting on something new. When working with children this is an ongoing process and that’s why checking in often on progress is important to both nannies and families. Feedback is needed to move forward and to be united as a team. There should be provision for daily communication as well as periodic performance reviews.
Successful long term placements take advantage of performance reviews as well as daily communication. Nanny positions are very fluid by nature – children are changing and growing, family dynamics ebb and flow, job duties shift and adjust along the way. With all these changes going on it is essential to maintain good communication and evaluate the position periodically. Embrace the opportunity for a performance review as a stepping stone for success!