Dealer Insights - July-August 2015 - Make employees a priority with performance evaluations
"Our employees are our greatest asset." Many dealership owners would agree with this statement. But their actions sometimes contradict this, especially when it comes to providing feedback on job performance.
To perform at their best, employees need feedback on how they're doing. The most effective way to provide this feedback is by conducting formal employee evaluations and reviews on a consistent basis. Doing so can help boost employee morale and job performance.
Keeping them informed
It's human nature to want to know how we're doing, and this is especially true with regard to our jobs. When employees don't receive feedback on their job performance — whether good or bad — they don't know whether to keep doing what they're doing or change course.
Unfortunately, managers get so busy with all the tasks involved in running the dealership that performing employee reviews often gets pushed to the side. It can be easy to put off a performance review for a week or two (or longer) if there are other pressing priorities. This can lead to several problems:
- Employees receive no useful input on their job performance in a timely manner, so poor performance continues while the opportunity for improvement is lost.
- Poor performance might cause issues to continue uncorrected, which can hurt overall dealership performance.
- Employees receive the subtle message that they aren't a high management priority, which can hurt morale and make employees feel apathetic about their jobs.
In addition, employee reviews serve as a formal record of employee performance. This may provide the formal documentation needed from a legal perspective if you decide to terminate an employee for poor performance.
An evaluation and review process
The best way to make sure employee reviews happen on a regular basis is to implement an employee evaluation and review process. This will put in place a formal, structured procedure that should be followed by managers when conducting performance reviews for all employees.
Here are a few points to keep in mind as you devise such a process:
Make performance reviews a management priority. Require managers to conduct reviews on time, every time, for every employee. Otherwise, they'll inevitably get postponed as other more urgent tasks crowd them out.
Create a standard, yet flexible, performance review template. This template should include general performance criteria and standards that all employees are measured against, as well as standards that are unique for different jobs. A salesperson, for example, would have performance criteria different from those of a service technician.
Ask employees for self-assessments. Before getting started, managers should obtain a self-assessment to get the employee's input on his or her performance. This will help the manager view performance from the employee's perspective, which is obviously different from the manager's point of view.
Seek input from the employee's co-workers via 360-degree feedback. Keep co-workers' feedback confidential so they feel comfortable being honest in sharing their thoughts about the employee's performance. To make the process truly full circle, you might also want to solicit feedback on managers from the employees.
Annual and interim reviews
Formal performance reviews should generally be conducted on an annual basis, with interim reviews conducted every six months. This will demonstrate to employees what they're doing well (and poorly) so they have time to make changes before their annual review begins.
Resolve now to implement a formal employee evaluation and review process at your dealership. Show your employees that their performance counts.
Automotive Dealer Insights - July/August 2015