Do’s & Don’ts of Performance Reviews: And Why You NEED To Do Them!

goalsFirst let’s start off by saying: a Performance Review does not equal a salary increase!

Yes, the two are normally tied together…but that raise is tied to the end result of the performance review as a reward.  Too many managers shy away from doing performance reviews on their employees because they assume they HAVE to then give them a raise.  If you are one of them – time to change your way of thinking!

Performance reviews serve a dual purpose:  1) helps your employees know whether or not they successfully meeting their job requirements and what goals who have set for them and 2) helps identifying under-performance issues before they have to become disciplinary issues.

Remember: if you terminate an employee for poor job performance but have no paper trail to show you have counseled them or tried to help them correct it, YOU as the employer will be paying unemployment!   These performance reviews are a more productive and proactive approach than having to go right to a disciplinary action.

Performance reviews can be given at anytime of the year – most companies will do then only once annually along with a pay increase but I would suggest doing them more often.  Depending on how many employees you have to review, bi-annual or even quarterly can really make a difference in job performance and satisfaction.

Some key points to remember when you are filling out an employee’s performance review:

1) DO have a system in place for measuring performance. Quickest way to have an employee doubt you are giving them a fair review is to pull numbers and comments “out of a hat.”  Every job has some sort of guidelines that can be used to measure performance.  This is why more frequent reviews can help you – set goals for your employees and use those as the measuring sticks!

2) DON‘T delay discussing performance issues with an employee until the annual performance review. There is no reason to wait 3 – 6 – 12 months until you bring up an error or job deficiency.  Employees have come to expect that from employers and assume that their review won’t take into account the good things they have done.  Address a performance issue right away!  If the “check oil” in your car goes on, you don’t wait til the engine seizes…do you??

3) DO be direct, factual and detail-oriented. Don’t rush through a review to simple “get through it.”  You aren’t doing you or your employee any good with that…and they will remember that.  Take your time to prepare a clear, honest and well-thought review.  Go through your old notes, review the employee’s Personnel file or last review and come up with a new set of goals each time…even if you are including some of the same.  Give the employee a clear direction of where you want them to go in the position and what they will need to do to get there.

4) DON‘T make negative comments that attack an employee’s attitude rather than performance. Everyone has a bad day and not everyone is “Mr/Ms Personality” so don’t make the review personal.  Focus on their job requirements and expectations.  Should you bring up issues/complaints related to their job, yes – but in a constructive manner and NEVER assume you know why they act the way they do.  Tell them you have a “concern” and want to discuss…maybe they weren’t even aware they were coming across with an attitude.

5) DO document all points covered in the performance review. Performance records can also provide important documentation for your company in the event a disciplinary action, termination or other adverse personnel decision becomes necessary.

Performance reviews can be such a powerful and productive tool…see them as that and not a burden and watch how they will help improve morale and productivity!

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