Kelly Greens G&CC’s Executive Chef Drew Tait has found that yearly reviews can turn a challenging associate into a very successful associate.
At Kelly Greens G&CC, August is the last month of our fiscal year and all yearly reviews must be issued before September 1st. I know a lot of chefs groan at the thought of more paperwork and particularly loth the review process. I understand, it can be time-consuming, uncomfortable having one-on-one conversations and even provoke pushback from associates who rate poorly. We make excuses like “we give feedback every day” or “I don’t have time to sit and talk with every team member” but at the end of the day these excuses hold no water. We must realize the value of these reviews and recognize that putting effort into a good review can make a huge impact on your team members.
The review process should not be painful for either the manager or the associate. If you honestly give feedback throughout the year there should be no surprises when you sit down with each associate. I start my review process by reading through past reviews, looking through any documentation and tallying my attendance record spread sheet for each associate. Then, using our clubs standard review document, I rate each of the factors of the review. Some examples of these factors are quality, attendance, job knowledge, interpersonal relationships and judgement. These ratings range from 0 to 100, each 10 points above 60 are a different performance rating level. These performance levels range from U for unsatisfactory to O for outstanding. Once the rating scale is determined then I go through and write comments on the most impactful factors. You don’t have to write comments on each factor but just focus on the top and bottom 3-4.
This is where taking the time to write good notes or comments for your one on one meeting comes in. Take the time to write honestly about each of the associate’s attributes, if you run out of space on the review sheet like I do make a separate word document with notes for your meetings so you can stay on track and hit all the points you want to. Make sure to write positive things as detailed as you do negative, encourage good practices to continue and point our areas where they improved year of year. Do the same thing for negative feedback and be prepared to expand on both of these when you have your one on ones.
Once you’ve completed rating the individual attributes total all of the points for each factor, divide by the number of attributes you rated the associate and this will give you their overall rating. Once you have this rating note if the associate has improved or dropped their score year of year. Then write specific comments on the main points of their accomplishments and their areas for development. Write a few specific goals for the next year along with any classes or trainings that you want them to participate in. Make sure you leave room for the associate to make comments of their own on the official review document and then sign and date it.
Now that you have all your reviews completed it is time to start your one-on-ones with each associate. You will need the review sheet for each employee, any further notes or past write-ups that you may want to cover as areas of improvement and a list of pay increases you are giving so you can let them know this at their review. Make sure the space you choose to do the reviews is private, comfortable and out of the way. If you don’t have your own office see if you can borrow a different manager’s office so you can take the time needed to go over the reviews. One of the biggest issues I have seen and even experienced from my own managers in the past is rushing the review process. Make sure you set enough time aside in your schedule to spend some quality time with each of your associate’s. You want to make sure they fully understand everything you are covering and that the feedback you are giving hits home with them. Make sure you cover each individual area, read what you wrote in the review and expand on anything particular that you would like the associate to know. Ask if they have any questions for each section before moving on and make sure you encourage questions at the end before you end the review.
If done correctly, yearly reviews can turn a challenging associate into a very successful associate, but done poorly you can discourage a superstar or even cause an associate to leave seeking professional development and feedback elsewhere. Do not underestimate the importance of these reviews, take the time to do them right, be honest with your associate’s and have a successful review process for each of your associate’s. Once you have completed the reviews set time aside at least once half way through the year to quickly check in with each associate and see how they are doing on their goals. Provide some coaching and guidance to help your team achieve their goals and focused on their future.