Property Management Company ImageIt is the end of the year and this is the time when Performance Reviews are usually done if they are done at all.  Feedback is important.  We all want to know how well we are doing.  That is why it is essential for an effective performance review system to provide ongoing feedback not just once a year.

Too often managers save up negative information and unload it all at once during the annual review season.  Others “whitewash” performance and act like everything is okay when it really isn’t. That isn’t providing leadership. I truly believe that people want to perform at a high level.  Therefore, it is crucial to get buy in from employees about their roles and how they contribute to the organization’s vision and goals for the short term and long term.  Feed back should be an ongoing process.

I have always stressed that when things go wrong it is an opportunity to put in place the process or procedure necessary so it doesn’t happen again.  There is no blaming allowed.  We are adults and we must all accept responsibility and ownership for when things go wrong.  We are human and make mistakes.  However, it is up to managers to provide honest feedback and not avoid the conversation because of discomfort or being afraid of not being liked.  People will rise to the level of expectations.

Annual performance reviews should never be a surprise to anyone.  I like to have monthly one to one meetings with my employees to keep us on track with our goals and for me to have the opportunity to bring up “things I notice” and ask “What is going on?” “How can I support you?”  From my experience just listening and allowing employees to share what is going on not only in the workplace but in their personal lives lessens the stress they may be feeling.  They feel that you care about them and truly want to support them.

Good leaders are committed to helping their people win. I love the quote from Ken Blanchard, “If you want to know why your people are not performing well, step up to the mirror and take a peak.”  You need to set the expectations for employees.  You set the vision and it is your responsibility to communicate and get buy-in from employees as to how they are going to contribute to the vision and the goals.  If that isn’t happening it is on you.

The main job of a leader is to help his or her people succeed in accomplishing their goals.  When people accomplish their goals and feel valued and part of something bigger than themselves everyone wins.

What is in a good performance review?  It should be clear about what the employee will be evaluated on such as attendance, organization of work, professionalism, attitude, ability to follow directions, ability to meet deadlines, office skills, etc.  Whatever your Key Performance Indicators are for your staff that is what you want to be evaluating them on.  I also like to ask some of the following questions:

  1. List your individual strengths, your strengths as part of a team, and your strengths to the company?
  2. What is your favorite part of the job and the least favorite part of your job?
  3. What was your performance goal for this year?  Did you accomplish it?  If not, what got in the way?
  4. What is your performance goal for the coming year? How do you plan to accomplish it? Once accomplished how do you want to celebrate?
  5. What do you like best about working for the Company?  What do you like least?
  6. What can I do better to support you in accomplishing your goals?
  7. What other topics do you want to explore with me?

I have always surveyed my employees to see what benefits they would like that maybe we aren’t offering.  I have employees rank their choices.  This helps me understand how to spend money for the coming year and again it allows them to be part of the process.  In some years we have used extra money to do more community volunteerism, hired a coach to help with team building, pay bonuses, do off-site meetings, plan fun activities together, or allow for reimbursement of medical costs.  The survey allowed me to see what the employees loved about the company, where we could improve, the skill sets they have and where they could contribute. Often I could provide more opportunity for them by brain storming together.  I have never liked having a “Boss” so I have never wanted to be a “Boss.”  I have always wanted to create an environment where we are a true team and the company motto we came up with was “Better Together.”

If you are looking at your employees as contributing members of the company it takes a lot of pressure off you to know all the answers. Ask for ideas for improvements or new products and you just might be surprised.

So as the year ends please take time to meet with your staff to get feedback and share feedback with them.  Share your goals for the coming year and ask for them to support that vision and take on a piece of it.  Hear what their goals and aspirations are as well and looks for opportunities where you can support each other.

Lastly, pay for performance.  Cash flow is always a tricky thing for a small company so I paid the going rate, and offered bonuses at year-end when I had a better idea of my profits.  Get creative when you don’t have money because once employees needs are met then it isn’t always about more money.  My employees shared with me how they wanted to celebrate their accomplishments and more often than not it was with:  flex time, holiday time off, or doing fun activities together outside of work.  Make the work environment a great place to come to on a daily basis.

Remember, your work family is just as important as your immediate family so find ways to support each other, recognize work well done and talk about areas for improvement.  Having open and regular conversations is the best way to grow your profits, increase business and have happy long term employees which saves money in the long run. The LandlordSource Employee Manual & Forms provide everything you need for managing your team.

Kathleen Richards, is the owner of LandlordSource and The Property Management Coach.  She authored Property Management A-Z and teaches regularly at community colleges and conferences on property management topics. She is active in her field and holds professional designations as Master Property Manager (MPM®) and Residential Management Professional (RMP®) from NARPM®. Kathleen has served at the local and state level on the boards for NARPM® (National Association of Residential Property Managers).

Disclaimer: LandlordSource does not represent the article content in this website as legal advice. It is shared information only and up to the reader to use this information responsibly, seeking legal advice as necessary to their business.