Wrapping It Up

September 16, 2010

Wrapping it up:  the End-of-Year Performance Review

By Ken Eiken

OK, you’ve done it all… over the past year, you have:

  • Developed SMART Annual Performance Goals that are aligned to the objectives of the business
  • Conducted Regular One-on-Ones where your team members have tracked progress against their goals
  • Visited customers with your sales people, observing and finding areas to improve through coaching
  • Role-played various customer scenarios with team members, focusing on improving their weak areas

What’s left to do?  EVALUATION!

Sadly, Annual Performance Reviews are another one of those “least favorite” activities for sales leaders.  Most of us are frantically closing out the fiscal year to maximize year-end financials.  Additionally, if your fiscal year matches the calendar year, you’re working around the holidays – which obviously lowers motivation.  Executive and business focus is also shifting (or has shifted) to sales strategy for the upcoming year… the risk is that the you put minimum effort into evaluating your employees so you can move on to other things.

Don’t fall into that trap!

IF you have coached throughout the year using the techniques listed at the top, Annual Performance Reviews are EASY.  You already have all of the documentation you need (performance against goals, your notes from one-on-ones, observations from customer visits, role plays, and all those other coaching opportunities).  The performance review is simply a recap of the year and IS NOT A SURPRISE for you or your employee.  If you have followed your coaching strategy, even an “under-performer” evaluation is less foreboding if there are no surprises…

The challenge comes when you HAVEN’T followed a coaching methodology during the year.  In this case, you’re starting from scratch and relying on your long term (12 month) memory.  While you will know each employee’s performance against target, will you know all the intangibles that separate exceptional from average performance?  For example, will you be able to rank the person who came in 95% of target as “Exceeded Expectations” because an average sales person in that region would have only achieved 50% of target?


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