Performance reviews are a critical part of QA7 – 3 styles of review explored
In early childhood education and care (ECEC) services, as part of meeting Element 7.2.3, the approved provider is responsible for ensuring that each team member’s roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, performance is regularly evaluated, and that individualised learning and development plans are in place.
As ACECQA notes, an open and respectful performance review process can achieve many outcomes including:
- creating meaningful connections between an individual’s daily work and the larger goals and vision of the service
- showing team members they are valued and their contributions are appreciated
- strengthening bonds and building better communication between staff and management
- helping team members maintain motivation and see the impact their work has on the lives of children and families
- being collaborative and allowing team members to take ownership of their professional development
- refocusing the team on their key priorities
- providing managers with insight into how the team member views their work.
Despite understanding the importance of such reviews, not only to meet the obligations of Quality Area 7, but also to support and sustain the growth and retention of teams, some leaders in the ECEC sector are fearful or uncomfortable with evaluating performance.
In the piece below we look at three common methodologies for evaluating performance, with the aim of building confidence, understanding and capacity in these areas for leaders and managers in the ECEC sector.
Typically, a self assessment involves a leader or manager providing an employee with some notes or observations about their performance and daily practice. The employee is then invited to reflect on these observations and provide their own feedback, essentially assessing their own performance.
On the positive side, for the employee, these types of assessments open up opportunities for reflection, can help to scaffold goals and directions for personal development, and can help to improve self confidence and articulation.
For leaders, this type of performance assessment can help them to “see around corners” and learn a little more about their employees, as well as increasing their engagement and performance.
Some questions leaders or managers may ask in a self assessment include:
Do you think you fulfilled your job description to its fullest this year?
What have been some of the key challenges you’ve overcome?
How can your team better support you?
360 degree feedback
During the 360 Degree Feedback process, employees give and receive confidential, anonymous evaluations from the people who work around them.
Typically a mixture of about eight to twelve people fill out an anonymous form that asks questions covering a broad range of workplace competencies. The 360 questionnaire includes questions that are measured on a rating scale.
This questionnaire also asks raters to provide written comments. The person receiving the evaluations also fills out a self-rating questionnaire that includes the same survey questions that others receive in their forms.
In an ECEC context, this questionnaire can also be used by families, children and even the broader community.
An advantage of this approach is that different stakeholders are likely to notice and value different skills than management.
Management by objective
In this popular style of performance review SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals are set.
One of the main benefits of this approach is that it gives employees a clear direction and purpose for their work. They understand what is expected of them, how they will be evaluated, and how what they do contributes to the overall success of the service.
For leaders and managers, this approach is helpful because it allows them to communicate their expectations and priorities clearly, delegate tasks and responsibilities appropriately, and monitor and measure progress and results objectively.
To learn more about performance management and review approaches please see the following resources:
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