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Tips for Minimizing Employee Anxiety During Employee Evaluations

clock October 14, 2009 19:35 by author Administrator
Annual performance reviews can be stressful for both employees and managers. Here are some simple but effective tactics to help minimize your employees' anxiety and ensure reviews are both fair and effective:
  • Explain the process ahead of time. Ideally, whenever you hire an employee you should explain the details of the performance review process — how often these meeting occur, how they are conducted, and what the employee can expect during the discussion. Put these details in writing for easy reference. This way, the review conversation will have a structure that is clear to both you and your employee.
  • Schedule the review together. Some employers blindside their workers by springing a review on them without much advance notice. This is a poor tactic, as it puts the employee on the spot and denies them the opportunity to think through their accomplishments, objectives, and questions. A far better approach is to schedule the meeting with the employee in advance and even share your proposed conversation agenda ahead of time. The employee will come into the room feeling prepared and confident, and will be much more inclined to engage in an honest, productive conversation with you.
  • Flag any trouble spots in advance. If you unleash a series of aggressive questions and complaints regarding a performance shortfall during the actual meeting, you are sure to get a defensive, underdeveloped response in return. Difficult as it might be to talk with an employee about their inability to hit their professional marks, it is much more awkward when they enter the review under the mistaken impression that things are fine. A smart tactic is to tip them off before the date of the review by saying something to the effect of "We'll need to discuss why goals X, Y, and Z were not met this year. Please come into the conversation having given that some thought, so that we can work together on a solution."
  • Have employees conduct self-reviews. In addition to the traditional manager-delivered review, employee self-reviews are a new and viable alternative that are becoming more and more prevalent in the workplace. Consider having your employee provide you with a self-review in advance of your formal meeting.
  • Bring reviews into the round. Rather than have a one-way review process (a manager reviewing an employee), consider a "360 degree review" in which the employee also has the opportunity to evaluate your effectiveness as a manager. Have the employee fill out a brief questionnaire rating your management skills. Or you can simply alert the employee in advance that, during the review, the floor will be open to a discussion regarding your management techniques — what works for the employee and what doesn't. Encourage the person to suggest ways that you could manage them more effectively going forward. In addition, invite your employee to create a "wish list" of how he or she might expand upon or develop his or her job duties.
  • Don't begin on a down note. It is important to keep in mind that your opening remarks will set the tone for the rest of the meeting. Starting a review by diving immediately into the employee's failings is a sure way to start the conversation off on a sour note and set up a barrier between the two of you. Even if you must analyze performance shortcomings, a better approach is to initiate the conversation by highlighting the positive aspects of the employee's performance over the past year. The eventual conversation about what is not up to snuff will feel less dire, and, as a result, the employee will be more likely to listen and work with you toward a solution.
  • Hatch a plan. A review shouldn't simply be about rating an employee's performance. It should be a springboard from which the employee can grow and advance in the company. For every criticism, provide suggestions on how he or she could improve in the coming year. Working together, develop tactical, concrete approaches to overcome shortcomings. Let the employee see that you are interested in helping them develop and succeed. Inspire them to excellence by indicating that improvements will be rewarded with enhanced responsibilities. Knowing that your manager is on your side can be a powerful motivator.
  • Don't let the conversation stop. A formal review meeting is a good opportunity to stop and "check in" with your employee, but you should also strive to sustain an ongoing conversation about job performance throughout the year. By making the review process less formal, communication between the manager and the employee will improve. Allow the employee some time to ponder what was said during the review meeting, and then come back to the table to discuss any resulting questions or ideas that may not have come to mind during the initial conversation.


Customer Satisfaction Survey - When, How and How Often

clock October 7, 2009 16:49 by author Administrator
We all know customer satisfaction is essential to the survival of our businesses. How do we find out whether our customers are satisfied? The best way to find out whether your customers are satisfied is to ask them. When you conduct a customer satisfaction survey, what you ask the customers is important. How, when , and how often you ask these questions are also important. However, the most important thing about conducting a customer satisfaction survey is what you do with their answers. How You Ask Whether Customers Are Satisfied There are many ways to ask your customers whether or not they are satisfied with your company, your products, and the service they received. You can ask them:
  • Face-to-face As they are about to walk out of your store or office, ask them.
  • Call them on the phone If you have their phone number, and their permission, you can call them after their visit and ask how satisfied they are.
  • Mail them a questionnaire This technique has been used for a long time. The results are predictable.
  • Email them a customer satisfaction survey Be careful to not violate Spam laws
  • Email them an invitation to take a customer satisfaction survey
When To Conduct A Customer Satisfaction Survey The best time to conduct a customer satisfaction survey is when the experience is fresh in their minds. If you wait to conduct a survey, the customer's response may be less accurate. He may have forgotten some of the details. She may answer about a later event. Her may color his answers because of confusion with other visits. She may confuse you with some other company. What To Ask In A Customer Satisfaction Survey There is a school of thought that you only need to ask a single question in a customer satisfaction survey. That question is, "will you buy from me again?" While it is tempting to reduce your customer satisfaction survey to this supposed "essence", you miss a lot of valuable information and you can be easily misled. It is too easy for a customer to answer yes to the "will you buy from me again?", whether they mean it or not. You want to ask other questions in a customer satisfaction survey to get closer to the expected behavior and to collect information about what to change and what to keep doing. By all means ask the basic customer satisfaction questions:
  • How satisfied are you with the purchase you made (of a product or service)
  • How satisfied are you with the service you received?
  • How satisfied are you with our company overall?
  • And ask the customer loyalty questions"
  • How likely are you to buy from us again?
  • How likely are you to recommend our product/service to others
  • How likely are you to recommend our company to others.
  • Also ask what the customer liked and didn't like about the product, your service, and your company.
How Often Should You Conduct A Customer Satisfaction Survey The best answer is "often enough to get the most information, but not so often as to upset the customer". In real terms, the frequency with which you conduct a customer satisfaction survey depends on the frequency with which you interact with your customers. My state renews drivers licenses for five-year periods. It would be silly for them to ask me each year what I thought of my last renewal experience. Conversely, if I survey the commuters on my rapid transit system once a year, I will miss important changes in their attitudes that may be driven by seasonal events. What To Do With Answers From A Customer Satisfaction Survey Regardless of how I ask my customers for their feedback, what I ask them in the customer satisfaction survey, and when I survey them, the most important part of the customer satisfaction survey is what I do with their answers. Yes, I need to compile the answers from different customers. I need to look for trends. I should look for differences by region and/or product. However, I most need to act on the information I get from my customers though the survey. I need to fix the things the customers have complained about. I need to investigate their suggestions. I need to improve my company and product in those areas the mean the most to the most of my customers. I need to not change those things that they like. Most importantly I need to give them feedback that their answers were appreciated and are being acted upon. That feedback can be individual responses to the customers if appropriate, or it can simply be fixing the things that they tell you need to be fixed.