7 Key Ideas to Redefining Employee Evaluations & Performance Reviews

Fix Your Employee Evaluations Podcast

Paul Bresenden: All right. I’m with Dan Berzansky from OneTeam360. We’re talking about performance management for hourly or shift-based workforces. How are you doing?

Dan Berzansky: Yeah, I’m living the dream. Paul, how are you?

Paul Bresenden: I’m doing great. We got our OneTeam shirts on, we’re rocking it this morning. It’s nice. Let’s talk about, this idea of redefining feedback and performance reviews feels like this big weighty, huge initiative. I would say if you surveyed most companies, they would say they do some form of this. And then most people would say, it really isn’t what we thought it was.

Dan Berzansky: Right.

Paul Bresenden: They know they’re not doing it effectively. We’re doing it because we know we should. We wish we had a better system, a better way of doing it. That actually yielded the results that we’re looking for. But we’re doing it to some degree. You’ve… This has been a fun sort of topic because you’ve actually come up with seven principles around feedback that we’d love to dive into, so let’s just jump right into it. Let’s talk about redefining feedback and performance reviews. What’s number one?

Dan Berzansky: In my eyes, number one is… It has to be in real time. So this idea that performance reviews received three months or six months after the fact does more damage than it does good.

Paul Bresenden: Which hurts because that’s how we do it, but let’s talk a little bit more.

Dan Berzansky: I have this great system for you.

Paul Bresenden: So doing them in real time versus doing them in quarters or semi-annual or annual, right? Tell me how you would do this in real time.

Dan Berzansky: Yeah. So let me first back up. So we’re a performance management system for shift-based workers. That’s what we are, that’s what we do, that’s who we speak to, that’s who we’re going after.

So when we talk about a professional office setting with quantifiable KPIs that people are working towards every quarter, it makes sense. That absolutely makes sense. We have goals for a quarter, we work towards those goals, and we can achieve them. But when you’ve got shift-based workers who are coming in… When I look at my company, my primary business, I’ve got one employee who works one shift a week, I’ve got one employee who works five shifts a week. How do we judge them on the same level, right? So, they all need reviews, they all… But in a year, let’s just say I do an annual review.

Paul Bresenden: Right.

Dan Berzansky: In a year one employee’s worked 52 shifts. The other employees’ worked…250.

So how do we give them that feedback? And we’ve just missed so many opportunities to make them better. So the idea that it should be in real time is, we took that and we ran with a daily feedback.

So the feedback works in two ways. First, we’re called OneTeam360. So the first way is that they get to rate us as a business. And we suggest questions to ask, but every company can customize these questions. Did we give you the knowledge to do the job correctly? Do you understand the job at hand? Is there any other feedback you’d like to provide us as a business? And it’s anonymous.

Paul Bresenden: So you’re getting feedback from the employee on a daily basis and it’s to the organizations? To the manager? How does that work?

Dan Berzansky: Yeah. So it’s based on however you set it up. We set it up generally manager, organization, and general feedback.

And what I will say to every single person who I talk to about this system is, “When do you find out that your employee is unhappy about their job?”

Paul Bresenden: When they’ve given you notice.

Dan Berzansky: When they’ve given you notice, exactly right. So now, from day one, as a first day team member, you get to tell me what you liked and didn’t like about the system, the onboarding system, now, the employment system, or the work you’re doing, right?

And I have the opportunity to fix it. If I can fix it, I will.

Paul Bresenden: So how do you get them to fill out a survey every day?

Dan Berzansky: Yeah, it’s great. So they get a push notification to their cell phone or to their computer, wherever it is.

Paul Bresenden: So it’s on their device.

Dan Berzansky: It’s on their device. It’s all mobile-friendly, app store, Android store. And basically they get a push notification saying, “Hey, log in to see your score, but first rate your team.” So they get to then say, “My manager was a jerk to me, I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m expected to do something, and so and so sexually harassed me.”

Paul Bresenden: Okay, you’re going big.

Dan Berzansky: Let’s go big. Why not? I mean, we’ve gotten all of those things.

Which we would never have found out until we got the…

Paul Bresenden: Score.

Dan Berzansky: The… Well, until we got the letter from the attorneys that they had been sexually harassing someone. I mean, I joke, but it’s not a joke.

People are afraid to have face to face conversations, especially when they’re tough ones, and especially when you’re saying, “My manager is rude to me. They treat me like crap and I hate coming to work every day.”

Paul Bresenden: So you get this quick objective way of identifying huge issues. I would imagine those are rare, right? But the other side of it is you get this ability to… The employee gets the ability to not only give their feedback to the organization, but they get to see their objective performance as well, every day.

Dan Berzansky: Right. So the next step, once they’ve graded us, they get their grade, and their grade will be as simple as, “Great job, you got a point today,” or, “Unfortunately you didn’t get a point today. Here’s why: you arrived to work late and you weren’t wearing your uniform.” Okay. Can’t argue that. It’s objective, you knew what our goals are, you know what the expectation of employment is, you missed two of the goals.

Paul Bresenden: Interesting.

Dan Berzansky: And the beauty of the system is that, and I won’t get into the point system, but everything can be weighted. Timeliness, for me, is number one. So if you blow it on timeliness, it’s going to be hard to get a point. Because I need my people there on time. Right? Other companies might say uniform is important or opening procedures or closing procedures are that number one importance.

Paul Bresenden: It’s interesting because if you… I mean, most people tie their performance review to compensation. We know that’s sort of a headache or a challenge because what people are doing is they’re kind of… You’re hedging your bets with your reviews, right?

Dan Berzansky: Right.

Paul Bresenden: Don’t want it to be too glorious because then they’re going to ask for a raise, right? And then you don’t want it to be too negative because you want to sort of reinforce all the hard work that they’ve done. So most successful or great organizations will disconnect performance reviews and especially their cadence from compensation conversations. But what you’re doing here is you’re giving an objective measure every day or every shift so that when it comes down to that, whether that’s a compensation conversation… You have this long history of objectivity that’s tied to, it gives them a lot of, I don’t know, power in that equation of knowing like, “Hey, this person’s consistently a great performer.”

Dan Berzansky: Yeah, and if you think of it simplistically, they can essentially… it’s not what we call it, but they can essentially earn a three, a two, or a one every shift. So when they are due for that raise or that incentive or whatever it might be, their actual performance within that 20 point level or 40 point level will be the determining factor. So they actually have charts on their home screen, on their dashboard, that show them, “Hey, as a level one employee, you’re operating at about 60% efficiency.”

Paul Bresenden: I love that. So the real time provides clarity, crystal clarity on where you stand and what you’re doing.

Dan Berzansky: A hundred percent.

Paul Bresenden: What’s number two?

Dan Berzansky: So obviously, we’ve kind of alluded to this, but it has to be tied to company values and objectives of the team. So we are taking the performance expectations and we are saying, “This is what needs to happen in order for you to get your points for the day.”

Paul Bresenden: Most organizations, their performance reviews are so fuzzy, right? They’re all tied to these rating scales of 1 to 10. How do you feel in this moment? And they’re not what you described.

Dan Berzansky: And they’re written in a panic as it’s been four months and someone’s been working for four months, or six months, or a year. And the manager goes, “Oh man, I’ve got to sit and do this stupid review and…”

“And I can’t remember if they were good or bad, but we had a bad week last week, so we’re just going to say they were bad.”

Paul Bresenden: So you’re going to skew them heavily towards whatever the previous two weeks’ performances.

Dan Berzansky: Exactly, exactly.

Paul Bresenden: Wow. Okay. I love that. Objective tied to company values and team objectives. What’s number three?

Dan Berzansky: So including this 360 view that extends well beyond the immediate manager, right? So it’s… they give us feedback, we give them feedback… Again, when we’re talking about shift-based workers, think about any retail environment, right? They work an AM shift, they could have 1 of 10 managers. They work a PM shift, they could have another 1 of 10 managers. So the system, because it is objective and because it is clean and we’re giving them that daily feedback, they have real accurate data that they can even argue. If they feel like there’s something unjust or unfair, they can actually-

Paul Bresenden: “No, I did show up to work on time,” or, “I was wearing my uniform.”

Dan Berzansky: Exactly right, exactly right. “My manager wasn’t there and they just created me that because… whatever it is.” So they actually have a voice in the review and it’s not something that gets swept under the rug, it is something front and center.

Paul Bresenden: Right. Interesting. And because they’re reviewing you or they… to some degree, they’re reviewing their management structure, they’re reviewing the team environment… I like how you phrased it from the organization like, “I got everything I needed to be successful.” Right? It gives a more holistic way to make sure that these people are successful, right?

Dan Berzansky: Yeah. Because at the end of the day, I want them to be successful.I want them to love their work. I want them to be passionate about what they’re doing.

I want them to wake up and say, “Look, we’re not always motivated to get up and go to work.”

We’ve found a way to keep them excited about what they’re doing and essentially we’ve created these bumpers that are very clear.

Paul Bresenden: Love it.

Dan Berzansky: End zones, I should say.

Paul Bresenden: Sure. Bumper bowling.

Dan Berzansky: Yeah.

Paul Bresenden: That’s good. All right, what’s the fourth one?

Dan Berzansky: So… Tying it to advancement. So, as we go through these performance reviews, because they’re so often, they have the opportunity to move up in our level system. So our level system is completely customizable. Okay, like I said before, it could be 20 points, 40 points, 60… However you want to structure it based on how often your people leave you. But as they march from level one to level two, two to three, three to four, their performance is going to dictate what incentive or what bonus or what pay they’re getting in this new level.

Paul Bresenden: That’s fascinating. Because it’s not only tied to their performance, to some degree, it’s tied to them being there and showing up, right? Like if you’re describing this ability for them to move up and that performance review happens every time you show up, you’re going to have a workforce that’s actually more engaged because the people that are getting rated are the ones that showed up.

Dan Berzansky: Yep.

Paul Bresenden: And the ones that didn’t just kind of drop off because they’re not advancing. It’s the system just driving itself, which is pure magic, in my opinion. That’s awesome.

Dan Berzansky: The old system was, “You aren’t giving me what I need, it’s your fault that I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing.” No one can do this anymore.

You literally hold the keys to the kingdom.We all have the same information. We all have the same goals. It’s all clearly written and outlined. There’s no subjectivity. It’s objective.

Paul Bresenden: Yeah. You don’t have to ask for a raise anymore because you know exactly how to get it.

Dan Berzansky: In fact, they schedule through the system, they get a notification saying you’ve leveled up and they can actually just literally look at their pie chart and know exactly what they’re getting when they walk into that meeting. They’ll know before we do.

Paul Bresenden: Wow.

Dan Berzansky: Because we don’t have to do any pre-work. They show up to a meeting, I pull up the system, I say, “Okay, you’re operating at 80%, great. You get the max raise.”

Paul Bresenden: And you get to talk to them about it and walk through it and have fun, that’s interesting.

Takes all the stress out of the manager.

Dan Berzansky: There is no stress for the… I mean, you still have to have the conversation, but yeah, absolutely.

Paul Bresenden: That’s awesome. All right. What’s the next point?

Dan Berzansky: So this idea that we have to include skills, commitment, and attitude. So really, we’re doing daily, weekly, monthly, whatever you choose to do as a business owner, skill assessments, and those skill assessments could be emergency action plans, it could be cash handling, it could be-

Paul Bresenden: So you’re baking-in training into the performance review?

Dan Berzansky: Yeah. So we go back and forth on whether we’re going to call it training or skill assessments.

Because really, we’re not an LMS, we’re not teaching them to how to make smoothies for the first time, but we are doing a skill assessment during their employment ongoing, whether again, weekly, monthly… Whatever you choose to do as a business owner, whether they made that smoothie the correct way, or whether they cleaned that popcorn machine in the movie theater the correct way, or whether they cooked the hamburgers the right way.

Paul Bresenden: So part of this sort of feedback system is, “You know how to do your job well.” And there’s an objective measurement in that.

Dan Berzansky: Right? Because I’m going to tell you that you didn’t do a good job of cleaning the fryer, and not once have you ever told me that you didn’t understand that. Or maybe you have told me, and you’ve given me that feedback that the manager never taught you how to clean the fryer.

So now all the information’s readily available for me.

Paul Bresenden: How do you measure commitment and attitude criteria? Seems a little tougher.

Dan Berzansky:

Yeah. So I mean, it’s a matter of fulfilling their commitment, showing up to the shifts that they were supposed to show up to and getting the job done the way that they’re supposed to. So we quickly understand whether the commitment is there or not when they are not locking the gate or the door on the way out, or-

Paul Bresenden: So you’ve created tasks or minimum criteria. “These are the checklist things that had to get done.”

Dan Berzansky: Exactly.

Paul Bresenden: And then attitude, I’m assuming that that’s either their team or their manager giving them some feedback. How does that filter in?

Dan Berzansky: Yeah. So I mean, this is a very important piece because if we’re judging on attitude, it really is subjective. Right? So my rule of thumb… Again, not everybody uses attitude as a performance metric. We do, but you have to have the conversation before you click that “Needs Work.”

Paul Bresenden: So that’s training for the managers’ side.

Dan Berzansky: That’s training for the managers, it’s forcing them to have the conversations. If you put “Needs Work” on “Attitude-“

Paul Bresenden: You better have a good justification.

Dan Berzansky: There better have been a conversation and understanding from both sides because what’s going to end up happening, you’re going to click that button and they’re going to get a push notification saying “Manager rated you as having bad attitude” or… The wording is wrong, but you get an idea of what I’m saying.

Paul Bresenden: Right. Doesn’t live up to the company values.

Dan Berzansky: Correct. “What does that mean? Well, no one told me that, I had no idea. What are you talking about?”

Paul Bresenden: Right. And because it’s a 360 system, you see that feedback and you get to rate the manager, then say, “Why do I have a bad attitude? He never referenced anything.”

Dan Berzansky: Right.

Paul Bresenden: “I thought I was doing a great job.”

Dan Berzansky: So we purposefully did it that the manager gets their rating first and it’s anonymous. So you rate me as a bad manager. I don’t get that feedback until the calendar week.

Paul Bresenden: Oh wow.

Dan Berzansky: So on Friday I get one digest rating that says, “Your team rated you at a 6 out of 10 because you aren’t giving the feedback, you’re not spending time on them, and you’re being rude.”

Whatever it is, right? And I made those up, but that’s just the idea. So you get that at the end. So it doesn’t influence what you do the rest of the week with… “I know Paul gave me a bad rating, to hell with that guy. I’m going to give him a bad rating.”

Paul Bresenden: Right. Becomes this self-perpetuating cycle. Where’s… Let’s say you do have a bunch of managers that are sixes is out of tens, right? That would be the trick, is figuring out how to get them to see their own intrinsic way of leveling up and being good to their team.

And motivating them in the right way. And it’s objective, right? It’s not just, “Do they like me?” Because sometimes you have to give a hard feedback.

Dan Berzansky: No question, no question.

Paul Bresenden: But if it’s objective and it’s fair, people respect objective and fair more than they object to a soft leader that doesn’t get them.

Dan Berzansky: If and when we’ve had those conversations, which were the not-so-fun conversations with a manager, 9 times out of 10 it’s, “You know, you’re right. I’m having a hard time. This is going on. I’m tired, I’m working three jobs. I’m…” “Awesome. What can we do to make your life better? Would $2 more an hour help you?”

Which to me in the grand scheme of things, we see a lot of the times when we have managers that have earned a manager position through going through our levels. Nobody just gets a manager position.

Paul Bresenden: Right, they’ve already demonstrated commitment, they’ve already demonstrated competence.

Dan Berzansky: We know that they’re better than that.

What’s going on at home? “My wife is…”

Paul Bresenden: Something.

Dan Berzansky: Whatever it is, right? Or “my husband is something” or “my kids” or “my…” Whatever it might be. And now you know what, you’ve got the opportunity to fix it or make their lives better, and now you may have just made a lifetime true believer out of that person.

Paul Bresenden: Right. I mean, it’s great to, I don’t know… I can’t think of too many performance reviews where you’re looking at the whole individual and not just this narrow sliver of work.

And not this narrow sliver of work from the last two weeks. You’re realistically looking at a whole assessment and you’re addressing the whole individual. There might be more going on externally. Let’s find ways of fixing that.

Dan Berzansky: Yeah. And that movie theater manager might be rated on something else outside of one team. Because they’ve got sales goals and they’ve got… That’s more of a quarterly… It makes sense.

Paul Bresenden: Different compensation conversations…

Dan Berzansky: Different. It’s a different position, different comp, different everything.

Paul Bresenden: That’s a good transition to our sixth point. What’s number six?

Dan Berzansky: So obviously, it has to build positive culture, don’t do it at all. Right? So the whole point, I’m not trying to catch anybody. I don’t want any “ah-ha”s.

Everything is communicated in advance, everything is completely clear, and we’re all working towards this goal of a really positive, happy employee culture within the organization.

Paul Bresenden: So when you have that negative conversation with someone, the whole goal is to build that positive team and you’re helping that individual become a whole healthy individual.

Dan Berzansky: Yeah. And if you want to… What I think is one of the coolest things that we did in the system is we actually built it that if you, let’s just say, for example, from level one to level two, you had a rough time. You didn’t understand the job. You… It was a rough start for you with the company. Well, as soon as you graduate to level two, you start over from scratch on your rating scale.

So you are a level two employee and the whole rating system starts over. So no longer am I just stuck being that crappy employee.

Paul Bresenden: So you get a fresh start at every level.

Dan Berzansky: You literally get a… and those are the conversations we’ve had. We’ll say, “Hey dude, we had a rough level one. Or we had a rough level two. This is it. Level three starts tomorrow. Let’s get it going. We literally get to start from scratch. And you are a brand new employee with us.”

Paul Bresenden: What an amazing sort of… I don’t know, this sounds weird in context, but it’s a gift of grace, you get to start over in this, you’ve got to this level, good job. You own your destiny.

Dan Berzansky: It also allowed us to avoid… we’ve got that one great employee who now is slacking off and blowing it. They don’t get to just rest on their laurels and, “Oh, yeah. I used to be great.” I need you to be great now, I don’t need “you used to be great.”

Paul Bresenden: Right. It works both ways.

Dan Berzansky: Right. It works both ways, yeah.

Paul Bresenden: That’s awesome. All right, number seven.

Dan Berzansky: So obviously it should reward with positive reinforcement and recognition. So the system does that, it literally allows them to level up, earn the incentives that we’ve deemed to be the most important to them through surveys and so on. And the system actually will celebrate them on our dashboard.

Paul Bresenden: It seems like such a small thing to say, but it’s such a big… I don’t know. This has probably the biggest impact in an organization because most often 360 feedback or employee performance reviews because they’re done in this long timeframe, that the mechanism itself doesn’t serve for positive reinforcement or recognition.

Dan Berzansky: No.

Paul Bresenden: It serves as this quiet behind-the-scenes thing that’s tucked into a file that is tied to compensation, and because it’s tied to compensation, more often, it doesn’t create this positive reinforcement. It’s this stick that they use. Like, “You may have been great, but not great enough to get that raise.”

Or “Not great enough to get the big raise” or… and so every bit of feedback is tempered or hidden, it’s not really driving motivation. So I think there’s some magic there that you’ve kind of baked into it. I think that’s really cool.

Dan Berzansky: I truly be believe that there is, because exactly what you just said is the way the world works right now.

The way the professional world works is that it gets tucked in a file and eventually someone will say something and yeah, you’ll get the good job every now and again. And there are systems who try to be consistent about it, but it’s just… there’s nothing doing what we’re doing with this. And we’ve looked long and hard for it.

Paul Bresenden: Let’s go through those again, just really quick. Number one, it should be in real time, not tucked away, not hidden. It should be tied to company values and team objectives, and I think the operative word there is “objectives,” right? It should be objective.

Dan Berzansky: It has to be.

Paul Bresenden: It has to include a 360 view that extends beyond the immediate manager, it’s not just tying it to one person’s opinion. It should be tied to advancement. It should include both skills, commitment, and attitude criteria. It should be there to build a positive culture, and then it should reward with positive reinforcement and recognition.

Dan Berzansky: Yep.

Paul Bresenden: That’s awesome. So if you guys need help with your performance reviews, your realtime feedback, if you need help building a high-performing team, it’s great to actually just dive into some of the things that OneTeam360 offers, we’d love to have a conversation here more about you and your company. Check us out at OneTeam360, hit us up on social. You can always just drop a question into chat, we have that on our website. We’d love to hear more from you. Thanks for joining in today.

Dan Berzansky: Bye guys.

Paul Bresenden: See ya.