Wednesday, January 20, 2010

No Annual Reviews - How do you motivate and recognize?

At my current job (been here 2.5 years), I don't get an annual review. I've never had one.

I get the same increase for being here another year (a step increase) that every other clerical/administrative staff will receive.

I might have been doing a really crappy job this fiscal year. Or I might have been the best employee ever seen, saving the company millions, and I would have gotten the very same increase. While this a great on some level (if I ever decided to turn into a real slacker, I don't think I'd ever leave...oh wait - I just described some of my coworkers), I have a real gripe with this.

I feel like an actor (pronounced ak-TOHR), "What's my motivation?"

When there is no accountability built into my work year and also no reward or recognition, the only motivation is going to come from inside of me. That's great, but even for fairly motivated people, we still tend to perform better when we're presented with clearly outlined challenges and the knowledge that someone actually cares what we're doing.

At my last company, we had a personal plan for the year, outlining our goals for our development. Some were simple items that required nothing but self study, but other goals included the company paying for training. We also had annual reviews that tied in to our current responsibilities, feedback from stakeholders and those personal growth goals. It kept me honest and on track. I also really appreciated getting support to develop myself during the year. Feedback from my peers and supervisors was also invaluable (usually, it would be very nice comments but every once in a while you'd get a great insight about some area you could improve in or develop).

Now I work in the public sector and have no goals or review. Maybe this is unique to my job, my office, my company, but I think this model may be found in other public sector jobs.

So, if you can't change the way they do business where you work, is there another method or system that, on a small scale, can foster motivation, self improvement and recognition/reward? And, it would have to be done without budget support and everyone will still get their step money can't be the incentive.

In my mind, it should include:
  • clearly defined objectives/goals for work projects
  • defined personal improvement/development goals
  • guidance throughout the year to make sure employees are on track
  • recognition amongst their peers, a way to be differentiated from others and give coworkers a goal to work towards
If you've got something like this at your work already in place, ideas are welcome.

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