As the world continues to change at an increasingly rapid pace, it’s critical for your organization to pause and reflect and create opportunities for your employees to do the same. Coaching your employees to discover their own personal purpose can help them gain clarity on their meaning at work and better connect with the work they do. Research from McKinsey reveals that people whose managers didn’t provide them opportunities to reflect on purpose stood at just a 7% chance of fulfilling their purpose at work.
Self-reflections can help employees take a step back, reflect on their work in the context of what’s going on in their lives and the world. Embedding self-reflections into your organization’s performance culture allows employees to improve their skill set, plan for the future, and celebrate accomplishments (both personal and professional). Further, employees in high-performing organizations who are more satisfied with their organization’s approach to performance management are 1.4x more likely to meet their financial targets.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of incorporating self-reflections into your performance process.
Self-reflections as part of performance management
Incorporating self-reflections into your performance process offers a number of organization-wide benefits. For example, one study found that when people used their commute time to think about and plan their day, they were happier, more productive, and less burned out than people who didn’t. This suggests that when employees take the time to reflect on their past accomplishments and future goals, they experience greater motivation, satisfaction, and productivity.
Research on organizational justice has also shown that an opportunity to voice one’s input in a process has major impacts on employee attitudes toward the performance process. As more and more organizations adopt a hybrid or remote work model, self-reflections can provide managers with a more holistic view of the performance of their direct reports. This helps mitigate biases and improve employee sentiment.
Developmental vs. measurement-focused self-reflections
Effective performance management requires incorporating the principles of both performance measurement and performance development. However, many organizations focus solely on performance measurement, neglecting development completely. Separating performance measurement from development can enable employees to focus on their development continuously and understand how it fits into their performance review.
As you consider how to embed self-reflections into your performance process, first consider what they look like in each type of performance cycle:
*Development cycle: when you’re focused on learning and growth.
-Self-reflections are used to identify areas in which one hopes to develop and set goals accordingly.
*Measurement cycle: when promotion and compensation decisions are made.
-Self-reflections are used as input for the evaluation process.
Regardless of whether you’re in a measurement or development cycle, your organization should plan to maintain (or implement) self-reflections, giving employees the opportunity to:
- Reflect on their contribution in the context of their personal experience
- Identify progress toward their goals
- Create a space for meaningful 1-on-1 conversations with their manager to discuss any challenges or needs
Whether you lack a formal approach or already have a working system, it’s critical to create opportunities for your employees to share their perspective through self-reflections. This lays the foundation for meaningful conversations between managers and their direct reports – which ultimately serves to build trust, motivation, and performance.