By: Katherine Connor Ferguson
We all talk about the importance of honesty. But, being honest is not always easy. Especially when it comes to delivering a less than stellar performance review. As kind and caring human beings, we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or create embarrassment or discomfort. So we keep the negative feedback to ourselves.
When we do this we sell ourselves and our employees short. And we miss out on the many benefits that go along with creating a frank and open work environment. “Benefits?” you say. Here’s a few:
1. Being honest with employees during performance reviews (and beyond) creates transparency and instills trust in the workplace, which puts employees at ease. If employees know you will be frank with them when they mess up (as well as when they excel), they won’t spend time worrying and stressing about whether or not they are doing a good job. They will trust you will tell them.
2. When you provide employees with honest feedback, you communicate to them that you respect them, have confidence that they can handle the truth, and have confidence that they have the ability to grow, learn and become better.
3. Providing honest feedback helps to manage employee expectation. If an employee is having performance issues, but is never informed of these issues and always receives positive performance reviews, that employee will be caught off guard if s/he is subsequently terminated for not performing as expected. Work together with employees to help them improve their performance. If they do not use the information they receive during performance reviews to improve, that is their choice. At least you gave them a shot.
Honesty strengthens work relationships, helps employees excel and creates stronger work product. It’s not always easy to talk to people about their performance issues. But, it’s worth it.