How important are employee performance reviews? Very. On average, 17 hours are spent by managers in preparation for EACH ONE - giving you some indication as to their crucial nature. As short courses in management show, performance reviews play a vital role for both employer and employee in ensuring that issues are addressed, and the proper support is provided.
Why Are Performance Reviews Important?
Reviews form part of an overarching performance management process. Created to support growth and development, as well as to deal with problems, they come in a range of different forms. Each company will have its own way of doing things - meaning there's no right or wrong way to do it - but what we look at next represents general best practices when conducting yours.
What Are The Best Practices For Employee Performance Reviews?
If you want your performance reviews to have a meaningful impact, you need to do more than just go through the motions and tick the required boxes. Instead, there needs to be some structure and clarity, as you'll see by reading below.
- Fully Document EVERYTHING
Perhaps the most important aspect of your employee performance reviews is that they're all fully documented for future reference. Only by doing this can you hold your team member accountable for the targets and standards they agree to as part of their individual personal development plan.
Keeping regular records is vital, and there are many free templates and documentation that can be downloaded online for this very purpose.
- Always Check For Understanding
A performance review should involve a two-way dialogue about past results and steps that need to be taken going forwards. After going through everything, you should always check for understanding and what's expected from that point on. Be sure to make any set goals attainable, as well as clearly defined and able to be easily tracked.
Get the reviewee to repeat back expectations at the end, and you'll get a clear view of whether what was discussed has been taken on board.
- Get Rid Of All Distractions
In certain industries - like retail - it can take time to find a quiet area to express yourself properly and let your interpersonal skills shine through. However, that's what you must do by finding a quiet area to conduct your review. These reviews should always be conducted on a 1:1 basis, as each person has their own set of goals.
While a group meeting will help your team achieve its goals, individualised performance reviews are essential in meeting everyone's needs.
- Never Forget to Highlight Strengths
There's a tendency for employees to assume that a performance review is primarily going to be focused on negative aspects, but they aren't necessarily going to be so. In addition to highlighting what needs to be improved, all the great things the person is doing should also be mentioned.
Of course, areas for development need to be covered, but when they're buoyed by positive feedback, you'll typically find that they're much more responsive and willing to change.
- Create a Rating System
If you're in a target-driven role, you'll have Key Performance Indicators to help provide some structure to progress. However, if not, it will help you to create your own rating system e.g. 0-10, that you use for each important area. That way, it's much easier to get an at-a-glance idea of how the employee in question is doing.
Just be sure to leave space for notes, as a numerical mark will only tell part of the story and will need to be elaborated.
There's much more to performance reviews than we've spoken about here, but by implementing these elements, yours will be properly structured and focused on what's important and beneficial to you and your employees.
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