In late March, Sheryl Sandberg left Google to join Facebook, the social networking site, as COO. She immediately instituted new management and operations processes. These included guidelines for identifying and recruiting new employees, management training initiatives, and employee performance review procedures.
Fast-growing, entrepreneurial companies like Facebook are so busy that formalizing HR processes often are on the back-burner. In fact, even larger companies (and some public companies I know) neglect setting up appropriate HR processes. This not only can lead to liability, but to potential employee performance and satisfaction issues.
In the early part of my career, as an attorney at Day, Berry & Howard, we had only top down performance reviews that came from the partners with whom one worked. With my own subordinates, I went further and instituted a more in-depth review of my own performance. I regularly asked my assistants and occasionally, junior attorneys with whom I worked, questions like “How am I doing?”, “How can I do better to make us more efficient?” and “How can I help you to help me?” To do this, you need to be open to criticism, which is something many hard-charging attorneys with Type A personalities have difficulty with.
For me, it paid great dividends. I established excellent relationships that, for example, allowed me to delegate more of the mundane work to my assistants, which freed up my time for substantial work and allowed them to feel they were really contributing to our team.
360 performance review, which I understand that Ms. Sandberg initiated, incorporates more than just getting feedback from one’s superiors and subordinates. It also can include getting feedback from departmental coworkers, those in other departments, suppliers and sometimes, customers. Supposedly, it provides a more accurate picture of one’s strengths and weaknesses and ways to improve them (although there are some concerns about 360 performance appraisals).
At E-Solutions Integrator, we grew very rapidly from the outset. We did not use 360 performance review during my tenure, but developed this performance evaluation form for both the reviewed employee and his or her manager to complete. Each company needs to develop performance evaluation metrics that fit the needs of that particular organization, taking into account the job position, the requirements of that position, the type and size of the business, and the company’s stage of growth. This form worked well for us in the early stages of our existence.