How to Use Performance Reviews to Make Employees Happier at Work

dwight-reviewEditor’s Note: This is a guest post from Sean Conrad of the Halogen blog

A lot of employees and managers experience performance appraisals as a negative process. This is true even for employees who are generally good performers. At the core, the reason why we experience performance appraisals negatively is because we are being judged and rated by another.

But you could change the whole experience and improve the business value of performance appraisals simply by changing their focus. What if the goal of your performance appraisal process was to find way to encourage and inspire people to be happy at work and to be their best, rather than to critique, rate and rank them?

There are several things an individual manager or better yet an entire organization can do to make performance appraisals a positive experience that encourages and inspires:
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Why You Must Learn to Accelerate Emotional Space

Have you ever been so caught up in your anger that you can’t let it go?

Your anger, if unmanaged, ages you faster, slows the healing process, and gives you trouble developing friendships.

Most of us have some anger issues, especially when we are around people that annoy us. I have a friend who can’t stand a client that he works for. He tells me about his annoying voice and all his stupid requests. When he retells his stories we laugh about his client’s personality.

It made me think about how my friend uses our conversations to create emotional space. Emotional and physical space are really all about perception.

Back in 1910, people thought New York was so very far from Paris. It takes 5 days to travel by boat in 2010. In 1910 it must have taken over a week. Now it’s a little over seven hour plane ride. That’s 1/24th of the time.

I used to think that the day was so long when I had to work side by side with an annoying co-worker; now an annoying person can actually be fun. You will learn a few techniques that will help you accelerate your emotional space, teaching you how to improve friendships and your happiness.
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Work Happy Tip – Go Hug a Tree

hug-tree-nowYou don’t literally need to hug a tree, but…I mean if you really want to, go right ahead.

I just want you to get in tune with your senses. When was the last time you smelled a flower?

Been a while?

When you step outside of your comfort zone and do something like hug a tree, you’ll be surprised by the reactions you feel.

I literally went and hugged a tree. I pressed my cheek to the tree, wrapped my arms around it and squeezed. I felt this warm feeling come over me, like somehow the tree understood my appreciation for all the good that it does filtering the air for us.

I know this idea will feel weird, maybe a little too uncomfortable, so it’s time to use your imagination. Take two minutes to imagine yourself hugging a tree.

Feel the bark on your skin.

The smell of the bark.

What feelings rise up?

The strength of the tree.

The strengths within you.

I guarantee your stress will lower and you’ll feel more appreciation for the next tree you touch.
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Work Happy Tip – Remember 3 Good Things

remember-3-goodThere will be days when there seems like nothing is going well. The back pain is flairing, the co-worker next to you finds it funny when he is a little extra annoying, and you can’t seem to get anything done (constantly interrupted).

A few weeks ago I felt like this and I remembered a great technique that always helps.

Remember 3 Good Things

I learned this trick from my friend Alex.

At the end of your day on your commute home (or if you work from home before you leave your home office) – remember 3 good things that happened to you that day.

They can be the tiniest things ever.

They could be:
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How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed

relaxed-at-workSo you’re stressed out and you have too much to complete. What do you do?

Usually someone does the opposite of what they should really do. They try to rush through to get as much done as possible without being aware of their body signals.

This is actually funny to me. I have often seen co-workers making calls, writing an email and planning their night all at the same time they’re rushing to get all their work done and then they complain about feeling stressed out.

Instead of looking at the root cause, they apply topical solutions to the problem. I’ll explain as this article continues.

I’ve actually tried talking to these stressed out people about their habits and all I get are grumpy stares. I’m sure they are addicted to the rush of rushing around. We all love to feel important, making sure our ego gets that daily dose of “oh yeah, that’s why I’m on Earth.”

The problem is that our hearts, minds, and stomachs can’t handle the pressure. No wonder we eat for comfort. We are constantly on the edge trying to bring ourselves back to solid ground. We also forget that we have superpowers that need to be used more often.  We forget that we are put on this earth to thrive instead of just survive. That means doing work that gets us excited, gets us in the zone, and plays to our strengths. It’s a lot easier to keep stress back when we are doing work that comes easy to us.

We also need to find other ways to relax with the work that we do without feeling overwhelmed. It’s a mental game that we must all solve for ourselves.

I use 3 techniques that I’ve combined to help me deal with my frustration, plus a bonus idea that has worked well for me:

– Slow your movements for a specified amount of time

– Increase speed slowly

– Be 100% there

* Bonus Tip

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The Beta launch of the Happy at Work Project

If I was a betting man I would put up $10,000 that everyone has a friend who hates his or her job. I would win every time because I know you all know someone who bitches and complains about their job and does nothing to bring more joy into their working life.

That’s why I’m launching the BETA program of The Happy at Work Project. I want to help people who hate their jobs as well as people who put up with their “ok” jobs.

“OK” and “Hate” – Two Terrible Words

People who hate their jobs need to find a way to accept or change their circumstances. The only way they will actually do this is if they understand what they truly want out of their careers.

People who have just an “ok” job but don’t get excited about the work they are doing need to figure out what makes them feel energized and how to do more of this type of work.

I don’t believe in coasting. Sure, if you want to stay where you are then that’s your prerogative. This project is not for you.

But if you want to build a career that is going to take your happiness to the next level then the “Happy at Work Project” is your cup of “wake up and have fun” coffee.

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Wonderful Reader Comment

I love my readers. They always have such passion for working happier. One commenter wrote a response to – How You are Silently Signaling Your Co-Workers to Treat You. Check out what this reader is struggling with:

Ever since I was a kid, people have considered me to be “weird.” (Karl’s Note: We are all weird, some of us are just better at hiding it.) I have a very hard time connecting with people. The reality is that I love being alone. I love to write and read–watch birds…stare at the night sky. I have a rich imagination–and can entertain myself with my thoughts alone. I fantasize about moving to a little town where no one knows me, buying a little house, and not having to work…I’m not rich, I’m married, have children, and work with a group of people who ignore and avoid me. I’m pretty invisible. Then when I have to work with my team–it is a nightmare for me. No one listens to me, or they tell me my idea won’t work, then later someone else brings it up…and it is the greatest idea ever! I think I read somewhere that that means you’re the person with the lowest status in the group.

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Productivity is a State of Mind

(If you are unable to see this video, just click here and you’ll be forwarded to the site.)

Success or failure is really determined by how we feel. It’s up to us to figure out how to make ourselves “feel” successful every single day.

If you enjoyed this video post I have a good feeling you’ll enjoy these too: