The line between management and staff can sometimes be a deep one, creating an unproductive atmosphere of “us” and “them.” Arguably, the best way to merge these two camps is through communication. That’s why the Airport Club developed the Personnel Feedback Program, which bucks the traditional method of yearly performance evaluations and, instead, brings management and staff together three times a year to discuss performance and set goals in a comfortable, friendly environment.
Dubbed “Chalk Talks,” the quarterly meetings focus on goal setting and achieving short-term successes, as opposed to long-term annual goals traditionally measured by a scoring system. “We felt that goal setting is a superior tool in developing staff performance because [goals are made] specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and tangible,” explains club manager Paula Potter.
Potter says both staff and managers agree that the Chalk Talks are less intimidating than traditional performance reviews, particularly because each meeting carries less weight than an annual evaluation, and employees come away with clear, more progressive direction.
To reward employees who meet quarterly goals, the club has established an appreciation fund that honors staff with functions like rock climbing outings, parties and individual rewards like movie tickets. According to Potter, the program is a success because it’s based on a simple formula: “When managers are providing constant feedback and direction, it leads to happy, motivated, productive employees… and, when our staff are happy, they give better customer service.”