Talent management is changing, and in no place is this more apparent than in the employee review.
Once upon a time, reviews were a formalized, annual process. At many organizations, they still are. However, many companies, credit unions included, are ditching the annual review for a less formal, more communicative process.
But how do these organizations earn the senior level buy-in necessary to change a process as ingrained as an annual review? Two credit unions — BECU ($17.2B, Tukwila, WA) and Michigan State University Federal Credit Union ($3.6B, East Lansing, MI) — offer nine best practices for how they think outside the annual review.
CU QUICK FACTS
HQ: Tukwila, WA
Data as of 06.30.17
12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 14.0%
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 13.4%
No. 1: Pay Attention To The Trends
In 2015, human resources employees at BECU noticed more articles and case studies were covering changes in performance management.
“There was this buzz in the media, and we wanted to understand why it was happening,” says BECU’s director of talent development Jeffrey Duke. “What is the trend? What does it mean for us?”
At the time, BECU conducted employee reviews wherein managers would rate employees by numeric scale on competencies, then meet with employees twice a year to review these ratings.
The problem? It took a long time to put together these reviews, and the review itself was anxiety-inducing.
“It’s like getting your report card at the end of the year,” Duke says.
In July 2017, BECU launched a new review initiative. Now, managers conduct quarterly conversation-based check-ins with their employees, and employees evaluate the content of each meeting through a survey.
No. 2: Pay Attention To The Employees
Like many credit unions, MSUFCU conducts employee surveys to stay current with wants and needs. And according to Silvia Dimma, MSUFCU’s chief human resource officer, there is valuable information in the comments.
CU QUICK FACTS
HQ: East Lansing, MI
Data as of 06.30.17
12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 10.4%
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 19.5%
That’s where, more than three years ago, the credit union noted a trend.
“There were several employees who wanted more regular feedback with performance and what steps to take to advance their careers,” Dimma says.
In 2014, the credit union ditched its annual year-end essay-style review that highlighted employee accomplishments. Now, employees and managers meet biweekly to discuss past and future performance, career development, goals, and skill development.
“We essentially review the past two weeks and look forward to the next two weeks,” Dimma says. “The meeting is more focused, which makes it easier for employees to take and give feedback and for the manager to provide resources and coaching.”
No. 3: Annual Reviews Are Like Going To The Dentist, And People Don’t Like That
BECU moved away from annual reviews to quarterly check-ins, in part, because of the anxiety the review inspired in employees. The intent of the more frequent meetings, says Duke, is to relieve this anxiety while also providing employees the opportunity to have more regular discussions about performance and development.
“Most people will tell you annual reviews tend not to be fun events,” the director says. “They’re like going to the dentist. People don’t look forward to it.”
But reviews are a valuable tool, too, so credit unions need to make room for evaluations in their talent development strategies.
“They are about providing feedback, having two-way dialog, and setting clear expectations,” Duke says.
Because of the frequency of these conversations, everyone is more relaxed and more open to speaking. They are focused on small pieces rather than reviewing the whole year.
No. 4: More Conversations, More Often, Make Employees More Comfortable
For MSUFCU, biweekly meetings help the credit union more effectively set expectations between employee and manager.
Both individuals come prepared to talk about goals, competencies, and progressions. The check-ins work better than annual reviews for this purpose because the discussion isn’t bogged down by yearly performance analysis.
“In annual meetings, employees never know what is going to happen,” Dimma says.
Biweekly check-ins, on the other hand, make employees more comfortable.
“Because of the frequency of these conversations, everyone is more relaxed and more open to speaking,” Dimma says. “They are focused on small pieces rather than reviewing the whole year.”