Time to review! This year, make performance reviews work best for your employees — and yourself in the process.
Love them or dread them, performance reviews can help management examine the efficiency and effectiveness of their employees — and a well-executed performance review may well help you see who needs more responsibility and who might need to start looking for their next opportunity.
While some managers view the performance review simply as something that must occur each year/quarter/six months, the performance review can disclose vital information on your employees, and as a manager, one of your tasks includes knowing how to get employees to work on their highest level. If the performance review is treated as a formality, employees will see it as such, and it may well lose its true purpose. Here’s how to perform an effective employee review:
- First of all, you need to set up a streamlined process. Have the agenda ready, prepare ahead of time by reviewing goals set up previously by you and the employee, and be ready to explain what positives and negatives have affected performance and how they relate to the company’s overall objectives. Take enough time that you don’t have to hurry through the review and find a private place where electronics and people can’t interrupt. And consider the fact that the more preparation you put into the review as a manager beforehand, the smoother and more productive it will be.
- Second, keep reviews relevant. Make sure they know that the review connects to job performance, compensation/incentives, and advancement. When you clearly link everyday actions to overall business goals, it gives the employee a point of direction. And bear this in mind: Nothing you go over should be a surprise to the employee. You accomplish this by having smaller, less formal “check-ins” more than once a year. If job performance is reviewed regularly (and it doesn’t have to be a large-scale review every time), employees will appreciate the fact that it’s important to you as a manager and take it more seriously. Put together new goals based on the accomplishments of the past year and the needs of the upcoming one.
- Finally, keep discussion open and candid. As a manager, you need to find a way to clearly and honestly say to a struggling or underperforming employee that she needs to improve — while you don’t necessarily need to use a sledgehammer approach, you also need to avoid sugarcoating or ignoring problems for fear of unpleasant repercussions because the bottom line is that avoiding now will lead to a lot more unpleasantness down the road when a poor employee has harmed the company in some way by her (in)actions. It’s up to you to utilize a performance review to give thorough feedback, goals to attain, and mentoring as needed — while reminding the employee that, in the end, it’s up to her to do the work. And give her the chance to speak her mind on how she thought the year went, her strengths and weaknesses, and what she’d like to accomplish in the coming year.
The performance review gives the chance not only to review how employees have done during the year, but also how you, as a manager, have done — as you talk with your employees, gauge how well you have guided and led them as they discuss their performance. This is a chance to reflect on the effectiveness of your employees and, if you’re a truly good manager, on your own as well.