The importance of giving feedback

Bruce Chrisman, Fermilab’s chief operating officer, wrote this column.

Bruce Chrisman

From time to time we all want to know if we’re meeting our supervisor’s expectations. Regular communication and feedback within the workplace is necessary to prioritize gauge resources and even boost morale. Sometimes that feedback comes through a quick conversation, and other times, via a formal review process.

Starting this month, it is once again time for Fermilab’s formal performance review process. This process is important for the individual and for the laboratory. When conducting a performance review, supervisors assign a rating to their employees’ performance for that year. That rating normally determines a salary increase. But that is only one of the purposes for the salary review. Even though we are under a pay freeze, it is still important to continue the performance review process.

As we go forward in this process, I expect supervisors to honestly communicate performance and expectations of performance to their employees. After all, without communicating expectations, how can an employee know if what they are doing is right? The laboratory also uses the individual expectations set across the organization to inform progress toward its goals and mission. Employees, too, should look forward to participating in this process, as it is a time to have an open discussion with your supervisor, a time to highlight all that you have accomplished within the last year and to set goals for the year to come.

This year, too, we’re trying to get a fuller picture of employee performance by formally requesting and incorporating feedback from an employee’s project or task manager. These individuals, sometimes called matrix-level managers, might not technically be the person’s manager or supervisor, but they likely supervise the project or task and therefore all of the work done for that project or task. If you manage others as part of a project or task, then please cooperate when asked for your input.

To learn more about the performance appraisal process, or to view deadlines, visit the performance appraisal website. Please contact Employee Relations or your HR Generalist with any questions.