John O'Connor
John O’Connor

Do you really want to be “managed”? Didn’t think so.

Yet what do we call pretty much every non-frontline employee in the senior living sector? Managers. And when do most “managers” deliver the important feedback that those being assessed can’t wait to hear? Why, once a year during the annual review, of course.

Is it just me, or is something out of whack here?

I came to the conclusion a long time ago that as-appropriate coaching is a much better way to go. Apparently, quite a few others are similarly inclined, if a new survey on employee retention is to be believed. Among the more-than 800 people questioned for the 2016 SHRM/Globoforce Recognition Survey, 45% said coaching is “very important.”

Nearly as many — 40% — felt their organization’s performance reviews fail to accurately appraise employees’ work. Maybe it’s not the worker bees who need to start doing a better job.

So what’s the key takeaway here? We need fewer managers and more coaches. And let’s start recognizing annual reviews for what they are: a CYA exercise in paperwork compliance. Most organizations would dramatically trim turnover overnight by adopting a coaching mindset and eliminating annual reviews.

But let’s face it: most employers would much rather keep things the way they are and live with consequences. It is, after all, a safer way to go.

Just don’t get too friendly with the staff. By this time next year, most of them may be gone.

John O’Connor is editorial director of McKnight’s Senior Living. Email him at [email protected].