Conducting Worthwhile Performance Reviews for Your Staff
by Veronica Brattstrom
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Performance reviews can effectively highlight the performance of an employee and the expectations of you, the supervisor. Develop a system to capture accomplishments, tasks, conversations, projects, successes and concerns throughout the year to incorporate into the review. This can be as simple as keeping a folder for each employee to capture notes, emails, etc. all year long. Don’t wait until performance review time to add notes to employee files—plan to do so throughout the year.
Here are three key components for producing annual performance reviews that can lead to better employee performance the coming year and make performance reviews easier for you to complete:
Gather input from other team members
Ask team members for feedback and specific examples of initiative, customer service, and ability to work independently. Devise a template of specific questions for fellow team member to use to document their comments.
Give the employee an opportunity to complete a self-review too. This gives the employee an opportunity to share with you any contributions, accomplishments, and areas for growth. It’s always a good idea to review the employee’s self-review before writing your review to learn whether or not your perceptions of performance align with the employee’s.
Nothing in the annual review should be a surprise to the employee. The review is not the place for you to discuss a concern about performance for the first time. If you have concerns address those more immediately with the employee and allow time for behavior adjustments. Be specific about what you want them to change and how/when you expect the change to occur. If you have not addressed a performance concern with an employee prior to the review it’s not fair to them that it suddenly shows up in a formal review document where it becomes a permanent part of their employment record.
Performance concerns mentioned in the review should be limited to:
1) Issues previously discussed that haven’t been resolved to your satisfaction
2) Examples of the employee responding to feedback and correcting performance issues
Focus on objective behaviors
Behaviors are observable and documentable. Provide action-oriented and objective comments that can be measured and observed. Subjective comments can be misunderstood, misinterpreted and taken personally.
Remember, the annual performance review should not be used as a tool to capture mistakes. It’s an important event for each employee. A well-written review is a reflection of your commitment to developing others, your skill as a communicator, and your attention to detail. A well-written review can motivate an employee to make changes, progress and strive for a better outcome the following year.
For more resources on conducting performance reviews, visit the Society for Human Resource Management website.