Traditionally, people celebrate anniversaries with a dinner out, a weekend away, chocolate, or presents. For many, an anniversary is a time to set aside all the things that may frustrate you about your partner and celebrate your relationship. But some couples do it differently. Every year on their anniversaries, they ask themselves and each other: Do we still want to be here? Hmm, could we apply that to the workplace? Could managers and employees do the same?
Loving couples don’t ask: Is this the heavenly dose of trouble-free daily bliss of our first six months? No. That was infatuation, brain chemicals and ignorance. It wasn’t meant to last forever. But they ask whether they’re still happy. Whether they’re getting what they want out of the relationship. Whether they’re still glad to be with the other person. Whether they are growing the way they want to be. Whether they’re becoming the person they wanted to be within the relationship. These can be valid questions for people to ask about their employment, too.
Performance Reviews Are Like Anniversary Dinners
Generally during performance reviews – for companies that still have annual performance reviews – managers and employees set goals for the coming year. Let’s get real here, are they designed to produce a bigger raise or are both parties looking – in an honest and reflective way – at how they are contributing to each other and to the organization?
Let’s face it, people change. What was a challenge when you first started might be ho hum now. You might be considering a change to another city or getting married, having kids, starting your own business. You might be suddenly sandwiched between caring for your kids and caring for your parents who live an hour away. All of those things will impact how you perform and feel about your current position. Or maybe the manager you started with – with whom you seemed completely in sync – left and the job just isn’t the same.
This isn’t supposed to be a threatening conversation, but an opportunity for a manager and an employee to look realistically at what can be done to make it so both are getting what they want from the relationship – or consider options if that’s not possible.
Parting Is Not Always Sorrow
Here at ValentineHR, we have worked with Myra for years. She is one of the most intelligent, hard-working and delightful people I’ve ever employed. I totally trust her work ethic and skill set and we’ve become very close. But recently, she left. With us she had a myriad of clients, and while that kind of diversity is perfect for some people, Myra really loves digging in with one company. So she got a job where she could do just that. Over the past 11 years together, during which I watched her kids grow up, I suspected that when the last one went to college, she might be leaving. I knew how much she enjoys putting her all into one organization. Of course we miss her, but this is what is right for her, and so it’s probably right for ValentineHR too.
So this Valentine’s Day instead of sugar-coating things with good-feeling distractions, maybe it’s time to think about having fierce conversations and getting to the truth of your employee-employer relationship. It could be the best thing the two of you ever do.