Employee performance reviews can be a very powerful tool when used effectively. They can help improve morale, correct deficiencies, and motivate employees. Unfortunately, many companies simply treat them as another task to get out of the way, and they never really reach their full potential. The good news is, this is easy to address, as long as you implement a few changes.
All too often, we wait to give our employees kudos for a job well done until reviews come around. Some managers also leave development and improvement-related feedback until review time in order to avoid difficult conversations. This can leave employees without direction for an extended period of time, when they could be improving or working at a higher level year-round.
If the staff doesn’t know what criteria management is looking for, they can’t be expected to meet any goals. For this reason, a comprehensive performance review guide should be written in advance and discussed with employees.
As part of the employee review process, the employee should be encouraged to help set measurable and specific goals. This not only get their buy-in and personal investment, but helps them think about what the employee wants to achieve. Both long-term career goals, and steps they need to take to advance, as well as short-term project-focused goals should be included. It’s also important to make the goals reasonable, but with high expectations. This aids in development and improves morale as people reach milestones.
Set a schedule to follow up on reviews and goals on a regular basis, be it monthly or quarterly. This ensures that feedback is constantly being given and that the goals remain on the forefront of everyone’s minds. Sometimes, reviewing managers have difficulty recalling the whole review period, particularly if something really good or bad happened right before review time. For this reason, the follow-ups are also good opportunity for managers to make notes on the employee’s progress, so that the next employee performance review can include feedback for the whole period.
The time you spend with employees going over their reviews, and the quality of the feedback they receive, is a major component in employee development. Be sure employees are notified of reviews in advance, as well as what the review will entail, so they can prepare. Although most managers have some kind of open-door policy that allows employees to stop in anytime, and they may genuinely mean it, it’s common for people to not want to interrupt workflow or to be unsure how to approach a topic. Because of this, managers should set aside time to look through each review before meeting with employees, as well as ample time for discussion during the review.
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