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Procurement: Make Performance Reviews About the Future

Performance reviews should look to the future, not concentrate on the past

Two People Informal Meeting SilhouetteWhen it comes to performance reviews, what’s past is prologue.

It’s important to go over what’s happened in the previous year, of course, but if procurement managers conduct assessments based on past performance alone, employees will concentrate on the past rather than look to the future.

Instead, managers should discuss employees’ future capabilities to understand how employees can meet new business needs, and anticipate any potential gaps.

One company in our network, for instance, begins its performance reviews by discussing the future, which allows employees to discuss their performance in their own words and in their own time.

Three Elements for Managers to Concentrate On

Managers should concentrate on three key elements—capabilities, career interests, and networks—to tilt the review toward the future. CEB Procurement members should use this guide to performance reviews.

Capabilities: Start by asking employees about the skills they want to learn in the future. Then, talk about the skills you believe they must learn—including any development areas—to provide value in their roles.

Discuss how the employee’s strengths can contribute to the company’s future goals. Conclude by motivating employees to change their behavior, such as by explaining potential benefits for them if they develop a certain new skill.

Career interests: Ask employees what they’re aiming for in their careers. Use that information as a springboard to discuss how these goals align with the company’s vision, or ways to make them align.

Then guide employees through the possible career paths available to them, discussing at least the next two levels of progression.

Networks: Ask employees what sort of networks they’re interested in connecting with for their future career aspirations. For example, do they want to connect with people in similar roles, or with workers whose roles involve a certain technology so they can learn it.

Then, share your views on the networks the employee should connect to in order to succeed in the future; talk about their current networks as well. Finally, offer suggestions of peers and senior leaders that employees could link up with as potential mentors.

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