A New Era For Performance Conversations

Until the middle of March this year most of us reported to work outside of our home. Now more than half of the people who are still working log on to our computers to report to work each day (56% according to a recent study by GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com). This same group estimates about 30% of jobs will now be remote as opposed to 3.6% before COVID19. Most people and the organizations they work for are adjusting and in many cases productivity has improved. A survey conducted by YouGov in partnership with USA Today and LinkedIn 54% of respondents (ages 18 to 74) reported an increase in their daily output. Meetings have shifted from in-person to virtual along with conversations with customers, vendors, and co-workers. This will mean that conversations regarding performance will shift as well.

Managers from a variety of industries have expressed concern about virtual performance conversations. The biggest being the inability to read body language if the conversation is audio-only. The remedy? State meeting expectations up front. Use the virtual platform provided by your company. And most importantly prepare for the meeting. Make a note of your talking points using the following framework.

Craft your opening line. You could use one of the following: “As your supervisor, it’s my job to help you be successful and I want to discuss your lack of progress on the ABC project.” Or I want to talk to you today because you are an important part of this team and last week you failed to turn in your progress report.” Be clear and specific. Avoid starting with a question. Use a statement that describes the reason for the conversation.

Describe the impact their behavior is having on the team, the project, or the organization. You might say: “When you fail to meet the project deadline, that impacts our ability to meet customer demands.

The goal of the conversation is to gain agreement on they will do differently in the future. Allow them to create a plan of action to remedy the problem. Ask for a specific timeline and get agreement on next steps. Then set a date for follow up.

If you would like a copy of my 12 Points to Master a Performance Conversation, send me an e-mail with 12 Point Plan in the subject line and I’ll send it on its way.

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