Employees across every industry aren't improving at the rate they should. In fact, some studies have shown that employee performance can actually decline as experience is gained. The world's workforce as a whole is becoming increasingly more disengaged each passing year which makes it difficult for some companies to simply survive, let alone innovate and improve. The reason for this is that their skills are not being stretched through constant feedback and goal setting.
At most companies, you only get feedback once a year, in your annual performance review. This is an absolute joke. Managers dread the monotony of creating reviews for each of their direct reports, sifting through months of data and trying to put together something that won't cause a riot. Meanwhile, the team team members being reviewed have to live with the fear of being subjectively judged (against arbitrary and ambiguous goals that don't even apply to their job) once a year dreading the performance review months before it is given and often remaining bitter about it months after. "Gee, I wonder if my boss remembers those late hours I put in eight months ago in order to ship on time." Guess what, he doesn't.
Whether you're a project manager, a team member, a director, or CFO there is one thing you should be doing: Having One on One meetings with your direct reports as well as the person you report directly to. No exceptions.
One on One meetings allow the manager and employee to sit down in a safe setting to discuss both what the employee can do to improve their performance as well as what the manager can do to help make those improvements happen. These meetings are crucial to ensure that everyone is achieving their greatest potential, working towards the same goal, and are provided with all of the necessary resources required to succeed.
Working your day-to-day job without constant feedback (hint: once a month is too long) is like trying to bowl blindfolded. Sure, you can get up there and do your best to knock down a few pins, but all of your effort and hard work will never get you anywhere because you simply can't see what you are doing and no-one is telling you what adjustments to make after each roll.
If you are fortunate enough to be in a position with direct reports, then be a good leader and schedule some One on One time with each of your team members. It will give you an opportunity to mentor and grow your team while showing them that you truly care about their individual success.
If you are a team member, be proactive and take control of your career by scheduling One on One time with your manager. This will demonstrate that you care about your career and that you are working actively to manage it.
Getting constant and frequent feedback on our performance goals is the only way to improve. One on One meetings allow a structured setting to ensure that the appropriate level of feedback is being given and will help keep teams on track.
If we trained our Olympians like we train our employees we would be in serious trouble.