Employee Performance Review

Job satisfaction for employee is driven by both the employer and employee having a common understating of how the employee is performing. Performance reviews on at least an annual basis are a necessary process. However, as essential as these reviews can be for the growth of the company and the well-being of its employees, many managers are uncomfortable with the entire process.

To make your performance reviews as productive and as painless as possible, managers should:

  1. Be prepared - Decide both what you're going to say and how you're going to say it.

  2. Lead with the positive - It’s important to reaffirm the employee’s strengths at the beginning of the review. Since job security is the number one concern of most people, the performance review is a good time to tell an employee how much you value their contributions to your business.

  3. Focus on job performance - The goal is to evaluate job performance and not the person. A performance review that turns into a gripe session misses the opportunity to raise employee morale.

  4. Keep it real - Avoid detailed reviews that are too complicated and mechanistic, which can leave the employee feeling like a drone rather than a human being.

  5. Be consistent - Make sure to handle performance reviews in a consistent manner. Top performers should hear affirmations from you regarding their exemplary efforts; weak performers need to hear that their performance requires improvement. A simple approach to review criteria is to evaluate work based on quantity and quality relative to the job requirements. Secondary considerations might be employee attitude, willingness to help other personnel with their work when appropriate, and the ability to get along with others.

  6. Make it a two-way conversation - An effective performance review requires an interactive discussion with an open agenda. Try to formulate questions that seek the employee’s ideas and input. Remember, this will help the employee feel you value his or her opinions. The review should also be a forum for employees to voice their concerns.

  7. Address what’s important to the employee - Since job satisfaction is the most important factor affecting an employee’s attitude (and therefore his or her level of performance and value to your company), an effective review should delve into areas that include issues most important to that employee.

  8. Discuss work/life balance - The performance review is a good opportunity to show your concern for the employee’s work/life balance, and to jointly discuss solutions to improve that balance. It’s also a good time to create a plan for the employee’s career advancement and discuss what future opportunities might exist for him or her.

  9. Be a good listener - Remember to be an active listener and to pick up on your employee’s verbal and nonverbal cues.

  10. Review regularly - Reviews should be done proactively with the purpose of improving employee morale and productivity. When you conduct them on a regular basis, you avoid reviews prompted solely by the need to document an employee’s poor performance. This in turn can imply that the information is being collected as evidence to avoid litigation, should the employee ever be terminated.

Performance Review Checklist

Prior to the Review

  • Schedule a time and date that is mutually convenient - avoid rescheduling
  • Reserve a private place fee from phone call and interruptions (cell phones off)
  • Have the employee define accomplishments, concerns, and goals
  • Get input from those who interact with the employee
  • Review prior evaluations of the employee - expectations versus results
  • Review skills, work experience, training, and future requirements
  • Identify specific major events (positive and negative)
  • Determine strengths and weaknesses
  • Prepare and prioritize next steps for employee
  • Review and "troubling" aspects of the review with Human Resources or an appropriate manager - document this
  • Prepare an agenda and provide it to the employee

During the Review

  • Turn off cell phones
  • Set a tone that is both open and positive
  • Review the purpose of the review and the agenda for the process
  • Discuss performance past goals and accomplishment
  • Discuss strengths and competencies and areas for future development
  • Encourage employee response - do not let it become confrontational
  • Seek agreement on goals, development and time line
  • Summarize the review. If positive - end on a positive note; or if not positive, reinforce what must occur and set clear deadlines for improvement or consequences.

After the Review

  • Prepare a written review document
  • Get employee signature and agreement of what the review said.
  • Place a copy of the review in the employee's personnel file (typically with Human Resources)
  • Provide a copy to the employee

 

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