Performance Reviews, Remote Onboarding, and Time Management Before the Holidays

Manager TLDR – Issue 31

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Hey fellow managers and leaders,

Can you believe December starts tomorrow? 🎄⛄️

As we get closer to the end of the year, take some time to reflect back on what your team has accomplished in the past months.

 As Jason Wong, former Senior Director of Engineering at Etsy, said during #ManagerChats (our monthly Twitter chat for managers) this week: 

“It’s not uncommon to get bogged down in the day to day, and it’s always hard to recognize something when you’re in it. Taking some time to reflect on the journey can help refill our buckets and satisfy our core need to feel a sense of progress.”

Here are this week’s hand-picked tips to help you grow and develop as a leader:

🌟 10 Expert Tips for Stellar Performance Reviews | (11 min read) | Fellow Blog

 TLDR: When conducted properly, performance reviews can be a valuable tool to drive growth and continuous improvement across your team. Here are three valuable lessons we learned after interviewing a panel of experts:

“Emphasize that it’s *for them.* For their professional growth and can also be the catalyst for promotions/raises in some cases. It’s also a two-way conversation, so it can serve as a time where they can get performance-related concerns off their chest as well.”

– Kameron Jenkins (Content Lead at Shopify)

“Follow up in our next development 1:1 (monthly) in order to give them time to propose a roadmap. Career development is the direct report’s responsibility and manager’s responsibility to enable opportunities.”

– David Hoang (Director of Design at Webflow)

“Don’t celebrate the wins or accomplishments. Celebrate the *process* that allowed those accomplishments to happen. Sometimes the end result is truly out of their hands. Focus on the process, not results.”

– Scott Dust (Leadership Professor at Miami University)

💻 Best Practices for Remote Onboarding | (9 min read) | Increment Magazine

TLDR: Successful onboarding isn’t about getting your new employee to push out new features or projects as quickly as possible; it’s about building a foundation of relationships and psychological safety that allows your team to feel comfortable asking questions and requesting feedback. Here are three best practices you should follow, according to Alexandra Sunderland (Engineering Manager at Fellow): 

1. Start with thoughtful basics: Provide new hires with a document that outlines the “how-to” of the team, references to company handbooks, and a checklist of clear and actionable items for their first week.

2. Celebrate early accomplishments: Recognizing people at the start of a new job is extremely important, as it can give them a confidence boost to push past the first wave of imposter syndrome.

3. Build a remote buddy system: Pair new team members with a member of the team who can answer their questions. Outside of technical know-how, buddies play an essential role in helping new hires understand communication expectations, company social norms, and team dynamics.


🧩 How to Build a Great Staff Meeting Agenda (and Save Valuable Time) | (10 min read) | Fellow Blog

TLDR: We’ve all sat in staff meetings where we can’t help but wonder if the meeting could’ve been an email… but it doesn’t have to be that way! Our mission at Fellow is to help you make every meeting a productive work session that people look forward to attending. Here are our top 3 best practices (out of the 8 mentioned in this article) to make that happen: 

1. Define your meeting goal: The team should be able to read the title of the meeting and the description of the event and clearly understand what you’re planning to accomplish. 

2. Rotate the roles of notetaker and timekeeper: Assigning different meeting roles will get everyone invested in the success of the meeting and ensure that everyone is actively participating. 

3. End with clear next steps: Make it a habit to end the meeting by prioritizing the tasks that need to be completed and assigning them to specific individuals who can own these responsibilities. 


Handle the Holidays Like a Time Management Guru | (4 min read) | Laura Vanderkam

TLDR: Picture this — It’s the week before the holidays and rather than preparing to unwind, you stare at your calendar wondering if it is possible to cram a week’s deliverables into three days instead of five. The good news? You can plan ahead so you can actually take the holidays to relax. Here are three tips to accomplish that: 

1. A couple of weeks before the holidays, write a list of the tasks that absolutely must happen before you go offline.

2. Don’t book any meetings or calls the afternoon before your day off. It’s important to leave some time for any last-minute tasks that might come up.

3. Be strategic with your time. Instead of spending an hour checking your email, time block your schedule with the tasks that “future you” would thank you for accomplishing before your vacation.


🎬🍿 Recommended Videos 

Fellow browser extension: your meeting notes in Google Meet & Google Calendar

Are you a manager? Here’s how you get better at one on ones


🎙 New on the Supermanagers podcast

Teams Across Timezones: How to Be an Effective Remote Manager: Marcus Wermuth (Engineering and Product Manager at Buffer) talks about the challenges that come with hiring a team that is distributed around the world and how he makes it work. 


And that’s it for today. I hope the content we curated inspires you to continue growing as a leader! 

 If you enjoyed that, please share the newsletter with others. Share this newsletter on Twitter.

 Thanks for being part of our community,

 Manuela and the Fellow.app Team 👋


P.S. We’re hosting a live webinar on December 9th to show you how you can integrate Fellow with Slack, Jira, and Asana to make your meeting, team management, and productivity workflows even better! See you there?