Employee reviews can be difficult. It’s a blend and blur of empowering and course correcting. At the core of every employee review is the comparison of expectations.
I’d like to offer a simple methodology in which employers can measure the impact and results of their employees. From hire to promotion, there are four stages: plant, grow, bloom and prune.
Plant the Employee – The first few months of employment are critical. The health of their environment will determine whether the employee grows … or dies. At this stage, it’s more about the employer than it is the employee. As an employer, you have to ask the following questions:
- Have I empowered my employee to the fullest potential
- Does him/her have all the tools and resources needed to do their job well
- Am I doing a good job of training the employee
- Have I set up the employee to succeed or fail?
- How can I best serve my new employee?
Grow – At this stage, the employee has been “planted” and everything looks to be a mutually beneficial relationship. The expectations rise, but they’re not expected to hit home runs or think outside of the box. The main emphasis at this stage is root growth. Again, the ability for the roots to grow deep are directly related to the employers ability to provide a rich culture of health, tools and empowerment. All of the planting considerations still apply, but the employee is ready to begin growing on their own.
Bloom – Defined as a flourishing, healthy condition; the time or period of greatest beauty. This is the point when the employee is ready and positioned to shine. They are acclimated to their position, they’ve adapted to the company culture and they’ve defined and have begun to break the boundaries of the proverbial “box.” Here is where you find new, fresh and out-of-the-box creativity. It’s also the place where you find out what your employee is made of. They’ll either step up, or be asked to step out.
Prune – While this may sound negative in nature, like any healthy plant, it must be pruned in order to grow afresh and anew. In a corporate setting, this stage reflects the results from a flourishing employee. It’s critical to prune back responsibilities of your employee and hire staff to help sustain their infusion of business and revenues. The effects of this pruning should result in increase in creativity, confidence and promotion.
Once you have an employee reach the prune stage of development, in order to remain a healthy contributor and leader to the team, they should thrive in a regular pattern of bloom and prune.
As I stated in the beginning, it’s important to understand which stage of the development process your employee is at in order to accurately assess and compare their results. Moreover, you must have realistic expectations of what it takes for someone to grow into each stage.
Employers often get impatient with their employees learning curve and try to push them from one stage to the next. Unfortunately, this usually happens in the critical planting stage and the employee will either push to “grow” or simply die off. Employers can’t afford to have a dying employee, ever.
If you’re an employer, what specific expectations are you measuring your employees by? If you don’t know, then how is it possible for them to meet your expectations? If you can’t answer either of these questions, then I challenge you to determine what plant, grow, bloom and prune looks like in your organization and communicate that clearly to your staff. I guarantee that through clearly defined expectations, you’ll motivate and inspire them to become the star employee that you envisioned they could be.