Mother and daughter talking in ear evaluating performance

April 17, 2016

Jesús GarzasJesús Garzas
HR Learning, Development & Transformation Consultant

How do you evaluate the performance of your children?

Amidst the perpetual debates on how to achieve fairer performance evaluations for groups of employees, we often neglect the beneficial habit of stepping back and contemplating things from a different perspective.
Today, I want to take a break from pondering corporate matters and shift my focus to how I typically manage the performance of the individual for whom I bear the most direct responsibility and for whom I hold the deepest concerns about their development: my three-year-old son.
If the title didn't already give it away, I'm referring to my parental role.
You might think that I could apply my professional experience to become a better parent, given my years of assessing performance and managing people's development. In such a scenario, I would have conducted an annual meeting with my son at the start of the year to establish his major individual goals for the forthcoming months. These objectives could include learning to walk, mastering the art of descending the slide, and becoming more proficient at dressing himself. I might have even set team goals, like helping set the table and cooperating to ensure we arrive at places on time.
A few months down the road, we would have convened for a follow-up meeting. Even if I had been preoccupied with other matters, a year-end meeting would have sufficed. Our conversations would sound something like this: "Remember that day at the park when you took a tumble and bumped your head? You're supposed to slide down while sitting, not stand up. Accidents happen, but I mustn't take your goal for granted, especially since your near mishap could have led to a disaster. If something had occurred, your mother, the boss, would have fired me. However, I'm confident that with this sage advice, you'll perform better next year."
Sounds absurd, doesn't it? Well, it can appear just as ludicrous to our employees if we only discuss their performance during a couple of annual meetings. In an office setting, it's more prudent to spend some time preventing mishaps rather than holding hour-long meetings to address wounds after they've occurred.

Unquestionably, the most prevalent method employed by most parents to aid in their children's development and growth is none other than providing continuous feedback. It's been done this way since time immemorial, without the need for any expert to substantiate it with a cerebral study. It's been done this way because the only feedback that truly works is the one given in the moment. It's been done this way because when you genuinely care about someone, and their performance in life matters greatly to you, guiding them through life becomes one of your highest priorities.

I'm not suggesting that bosses love their employees the way parents love their children. However, while in the office, perhaps they should assign the same priority to their employees' development as they do to their children outside of it. It seems that if we guide the people we care about the most in their life's performance with continuous feedback, it's because we believe this model yields the best long-term results. So, why don't we apply it to our professional relationships? That, my friends, is a question that I'll leave for another, more technically-focused post, either here in the esteemed company of Hrider or my blog, just good company.