Does your company conduct annual performance reviews? The importance of this practice can’t be stressed enough as having tangible records of an employee’s performance will allow you to see where both you and your employee can improve so as to ensure success.
A lot can happen in a year and it’s easy to overlook significant achievements and points to improve. As a manager, you owe it to the business and to your employee to put these performance reviews as a top priority.
Many companies conduct performance reviews during the end of the year. Others have reviews twice a year. No matter the frequency of these reviews, leaders shouldn’t neglect to remember the long-term value of these reviews even during the busy holiday season. This is one of the few times where employees and employers can reflect on their work for the year, adjust their business attitudes and reset their focus to reach new goals and achieve better professional growth. Of course, the topic of salary increases, bonuses and other changes is a popular one as well. Here are five great tips for conducting performance reviews that are not only practical, but also provide meaning and serve as motivation to every employee.
1. Be honest and specific in your reviews.
When a performance review is specific and targets individual employees, it is more useful to them. Generic reviews won’t help them pinpoint which areas to improve on. If you include specific examples, it is more likely that they will have improved morale and then seek to improve their own performance. Focus on pointing out the areas where they’ve shown great performance and then note down the aspects of their work attitude that they need to improve on.
If your current performance reviews have no formal structure, be sure that everything is done honestly and transparently. The review should be divided into specific goals and measurable abilities. Define clearly how much weight each part would get. When an employee knows how they’re being evaluated and which areas are most important, they’ll know how to tackle the areas they’re lacking improvement in.
2. Monitor their performance frequently.
The ideal situation is that leaders and employees should have performance reviews on a quarterly basis. Quick one-on-one meetings every week would be excellent as well. If your company formally evaluates an employee’s performance bi-annually or annually, individual managers should still check in as much as possible so disagreements and untoward surprises will be minimized once the formal evaluation occurs. When a leader touches base every so often throughout the year, there is more time to change work attitudes or address concerns the moment that they arise instead of waiting months for the review cycle.
3. Collect feedback from everyone concerned.
Many companies currently gather 360 reviews or reviews where employees also provide feedback on their respective managers, peers and others. If this kind of process doesn’t exist within your company, you can still ask for feedback informally from those who work with your employees. This means you get a more honest perspective of an employee’s performance and that you get more than one point of view. Another benefit to this process is that your employees will learn how to trust each other and to prioritize teamwork.
Aside from peer reviews, self-evaluations are very important. An outlet for employees to present their individual achievements and how they’ve solved problems is very valuable. They will also have an opportunity to reflect on aspects that they can improve on in the future.
4. Use technology to your advantage.
Evaluating an employee’s performance is even easier now, thanks to technology. There are apps and programs that can help with the performance evaluation process and you can easily customize them for your company, regardless of your budget. This software can help you to quickly implement a structured performance review that will save you a lot of time and hold the respective employees accountable when it comes time to conduct reviews. The fact that everything is documented means the process is transparent and easy to understand. Due to the advent of cloud-based platforms, this can be extremely simple and easy to modify for all employees.
5. Find out what motivates your employees.
Getting to know your employees is a practice that will bring you long-term benefits. Know what makes them tick. Most of all, find out what kind of constructive feedback will impact them the most and help them to improve. There are employees who are motivated by quantitative and concrete data based on their performance and how their attitude directly affects potential incentives, bonuses and raises. Others respond better to peer recognition or career development.
Whether an individual employee is driven more by financial incentives, career opportunities or anything else, knowing what drives each employee is key so that the performance review will attain its goal. A great suggestion is to consider holding performance reviews away from the office. Maybe conduct it over a cup of coffee or during a light lunch. Having these reviews in a casual setting can lead to a more honest, productive and collaborative process.