How the mining industry can cut performance review dread

miner-sitting

Find out how both mining industry employers and employees can cut the dread about performance reviews and make the process positive for all parties.

Performance reviews are a great opportunity for employees and employers to ensure everyone is aligned on goals and performance indicators.

With a little preparation on the part of all parties, a performance review is an opportunity to ensure everyone walks away focused on the future, not on the past, and all parties are excited for a successful period ahead.

While the approach to annual reviews has changed over the years, you’ll still find people at all levels inside most mining businesses (indeed in any business) who don’t look forward to their review.

In March 2019, Mining People conducted a poll of the Australian mining industry on attitudes towards performance reviews. Here’s what it found:

Do performance reviews leave you feeling clear about how to be better at your job?

Yes

40.40%

No 

47.60%

Not Sure

12.00%

Do performance reviews leave you feeling positive and optimistic?

Yes

47.65%

No 

34.90%

Not Sure

17.45%

So there’s certainly room for improvement and below, we’ll outline ways both employers and employees in mining companies can get the most out of their performance reviews.

Mining industry performance reviews and salaries

Performance reviews used to be tied to salary increases (or decreases) with little thought given to employee development, training or promotional opportunities.

These days, reviews should be designed to measure and improve an employee’s performance, identify training and development needs, increase an employee’s potential and, only perhaps, lead to an increase in salary.

Our view is that the best mining employers should not encourage employees to only expect a salary review at the time of their performance review.

With salaries on the move again throughout most areas in the mining industry, we think the best employee/employer relationships are created when salary reviews are offered as soon as improved performance is consistently noticed.   
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So what does a good performance review look like?

An effective performance review system is:

  • Fair and equitable
  • It must also be efficient, as it links the employee’s outcomes against measurable standards and organisational goals
  • The system should be designed to engage and encourage the employee
  • Information for the review should be obtained from multiple sources
  • Supervisors and managers should be trained in how to have coaching conversations with employees.

Preparing for a performance review ensures both employee and employer get the most out of the process and ensures a positive outcome for both parties.

Here are our performance review tips for both mining industry employees and employers.

Performance review tips for mining industry employees

Know what you will be measured against

  • Know your KPIs so you can track your own performance
  • Get a copy of the review or assessment form ahead of the review
  • Some companies will seek qualitative feedback from others as well as using quantitative measures. Find out what measures your company uses.

Retain feedback you receive during the year

  • Keep a record of all feedback, ideally in email format
  • If someone says you’ve done a great job, ask them to put it in an email (particularly if it is someone from another department or site, or from head office)
  • At least keep notes of positive feedback you receive.

Assess your performance (and your team’s) in the review period

  • Be aware of areas where you are performing well and those where you may need some additional help to improve

Be honest about your performance.

Consider your career objective

  • Look at how your role aligns with your longer-term career objective
    • Are you learning skills and knowledge and gaining experience that aligns with that objective?
    • Are you willing to share this objective with your employer and together set goals and KPIs that will help you achieve it?

Prepare a summary

  • Prepare a summary of how you viewed your performance during the review period (focus on the whole picture and not on the detail)
  • Consider your progress on the goals and KPIs set previously, and then what they could look like for the coming period
  • Consider what you need to do, what your team needs to do, and the support and resources required to achieve KPIs.

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Performance review tips for mining industry employers

Ensure you understand how the employee is measured

  • Understand what criteria the employee is measured against, the areas they have improved on during the previous period and the new measures for the coming period
  • Remember, a review is not the time an employee should first hear about positive performance or performance that needs to improve
  • This is your opportunity to set new goals, measures, and development plans for the coming period.

Ask other supervisors for feedback

  • If you have an employee who crosses over from another leader, be sure to discuss their feedback and contribution to the review process
  • Ensure your discussion with the employee is reflective of all supervisors’ feedback and is not weighted towards your thoughts.

Know what and how you will discuss key points

  • Understand that working alongside your employees on a day-to-day basis can make giving feedback more challenging, but it still needs to be done
  • Don’t risk winging it. Prepare key feedback statements so the employee gains the feedback required to continue development.

Assess your skills to complete the review

Make sure the supervisors or managers given the task of completing the reviews are appropriately trained. It’s important they understand the process and are confident in having an honest and open discussion with your team.

Prepare a summary

  • Collating a summary ensures you focus on the employee’s performance across the complete review period.
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Reviews don’t need to be difficult or challenging and, with a bit of preparation time, they can be a valuable development tool for all parties. They’re worth doing, but they’re worth doing right.

And if this is a topic that really interests you, read the results of a recent poll where nearly 600 people in the mining industry told us what they really felt about performance reviews. As well as the questions and results quoted above, we asked many more with some fascinating and insightful results. 

Want to discuss career objectives with an independent person outside of your organisation? Contact Mining People now and arrange a career session.

Gail Rogers
Senior Consultant - Candidate Services & HR Consulting
Mining People International

gail.rogers@miningpeople.com.au

Gail worked in operational and technical mine site roles for 15 years and has been with MPi since 2002 in mining recruitment and executive search and eventually mining career guidance and human resources advisory positions. Gail’s 15 years directly in the mining industry, across residential, FIFO and CBD based roles, has given her a unique perspective into the industry.