Don't Have Performance Dialogue *FOMO!

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Tuesday, January 11, 2022


Last year, 82 percent of Lehigh staff and their supervisors completed the annual Lehigh staff performance dialogue process. That’s among the highest levels of completion we’ve achieved, but it still means that 18 percent of you missed a critical chance to have an important and open dialogue about your year. 

Not only that, performance dialogues generate crucial data for supervisors to use in making merit-based salary increase decisions for their team members. Getting your performance self-appraisal submitted to your supervisor on time (by January 17) ensures that your supervisor has the time they need to complete your annual review and that they have that valuable data before they are required to submit merit increases to their leadership in March. 

So don’t have performance dialogue FOMO! We talked to Director of Talent Management Lori Claudio and HR Associate for Employee Relations, Staff Development and Career Management Linda Lefever to get the scoop on everything you need to know to get the most out of the performance dialogue season. Read on and follow our crack Talent Management Team’s advice for staff and for supervisors.

“I did all this work all year…why do I have to sell myself to my supervisor?” 

Ask Linda what the one mistake is that folks make when completing their self-appraisal and she’ll tell you the blunt truth: People don’t sell themselves enough.

“I always say ‘sell yourself!’” Linda said. “And people respond ‘But I did all this work all year, doesn’t my supervisor know? Why do I have to sell myself to my supervisor?’” 

The fact is, supervisors are busy, too. Even if you’ve had regular meetings throughout the year, they’re not going to remember everything you did to support your team’s goals. It really is up to all of us to look back on our own work. 

“The merit increase pool is a limited amount of money,” Lori advises. “You should be putting your best foot forward to get the salary increase appropriate to your performance. Your supervisor is at a disadvantage if they don’t have the data and the time they need to make sound decisions.”

Here are some other key pieces of advice for all staff:

With Flexplace work a part of Lehigh’s culture now, it’s even more important to document and dialogue. Make sure you answer all seven questions in the self-dialogue. Pay special attention to the question about what your supervisor can do to help support you in your work. Highlight your success stories. Reflect on what you can improve in the coming year. Tell the story of your performance through details and data.

Be sure to include any career enrichment and professional development opportunities you took advantage of this year that aren’t already included in your Page Up self-appraisal form. Finally, add in at least one proposed goal for the coming year that can help guide the goal-setting piece of your performance dialogue. Remember that the performance dialogue process isn’t just about looking backward. The most valuable performance dialogues are about co-creating a vision for the future.

“Retention is everything in our current environment.” 

By this point, you may have heard about “The Great Resignation” – a label that has been placed on the current employment environment in the U.S. Across the country, people are changing employers at a rate that most HR professionals say is unlike anything they’ve ever experienced. And Lehigh isn’t immune from this trend. Lori has some advice for supervisors.

“The talent acquisition environment is extremely competitive right now and if you aren’t doing everything you can as a supervisor to retain your high performing staff members, you may lose them,” Lori advises. “Retention is everything.” 

While salary isn’t the only reason people may leave a job, it does matter. We know from exit interview data that a significant plurality of staff members who leave Lehigh each year leave for a higher salary.

Spot Bonus and Tradition of Excellence Awards are good ways to recognize one-time extraordinary service. However, the merit increase process is the only time each year that a supervisor can increase an employee’s salary outside of a re-evaluation of their position. That’s why it’s so important to have solid performance review data for each employee prior to making recommendations.

The key to using merit increases as a retention tool is to tie it to employee performance. An employee’s individual performance rating and merit increase recommendation should be in alignment.

Ranking even higher than salary on reasons why people leave is a career opportunity. As a supervisor, take advantage of the performance dialogue to talk to your staff about their career aspirations, professional learning goals, and opportunities to shine.

“Keep in mind that your highest performing employees aren’t necessarily the same people every year,” Lori added. “While you may have certain consistently high performing staff, each year different people may have opportunities to shine.” 


The Bottom Line

For Staff: 

  • Make sure you answer all seven self-appraisal questions, include at least one 2022 goal, and highlight your professional development achievements
  • Sell yourself- tell your story in data and details
  • Keep learning and growing - register for 2022 career enrichment programs now
  • Move your self-appraisal to your supervisor by January 16, 2022

For Supervisors:

  • Schedule performance review discussions with your staff for late January or early February
  • Finish the performance review process in Page Up in February
  • Use the data HR will provide you to help develop your merit increase recommendations for submission in March


*FOMO= Fear Of Missing Out