Performance Review – Ordeal or Asset?

Performance reviews are often seen as an ordeal by both management and staff. Due to negativity, this potentially valuable asset is not utilized optimally or is overlooked altogether. This is unfortunate as properly used performance reviews provide a prime opportunity to boost morale and increase productivity.

Formal Process

To be most effective, performance reviews must be conducted formally and on a set schedule. Employees must know what to expect and when to expect it. An annual review is appropriate for most positions while more frequent review is recommended during the first year or any probationary period. Use a numeric weighting system or a set scale to rate all facets of job performance.

Preparation is Essential

Thorough preparation prior to the performance review is essential. Obtain documentation of performance, if available. Make note of achievements and compose specific written suggestions for needed improvements. Be prepared to discuss with the employee any differences of opinion on performance. Also, prepare just as thoroughly when reviewing good employees as when reviewing problem personnel.

Set the Tone

Make the experience positive. Require employees to complete a self-appraisal to bring to the interview. With few exceptions, employees rate themselves lower than does management, providing an opportunity for positive reinforcement.

The Interview

Start out on a positive note. Commend the employee for some achievement or effort. Move on to consider as many elements of the job as possible. Go over each item thoroughly, highlighting strengths and pointing out areas that need improvement.

To ensure that the employee receives your undivided attention, schedule plenty of time without the possibility of interruption. Listen to the employee, answer all questions and encourage open discussion of any job-related concerns. Direct but do not dominate the conversation. Allow the employee to express feelings. Seek feedback and listen carefully. Finally, offer training or assistance, as appropriate.

Do not overlook this valuable opportunity to improve morale and increase productivity. Use the performance review process in a meaningful and positive way!