According to The Balance, managers should conduct formal performance reviews quarterly. This is in addition to weekly one-on-one meetings with the employee and their immediate supervisor.
While this is an excellent policy in theory, many small and medium sized business owners struggle to set aside time for reviews once a year, let alone every week. However, regular constructive feedback plays a pivotal role in empowering your staff to do their work to the best of their ability. These tips will help you and your employees get the most out of performance reviews, turning every meeting into time well spent.
Lay a Firm Foundation
An effective performance review does not start when you sit down with your employee in the conference room.
Take active steps to track employees’ performance throughout the entire assessment period. The human brain tends to form opinions based on the most recent information, not the most comprehensive. Keeping regular records of employee successes and challenges will help you avoid this bias.
Additionally, don’t wait until review time to share your observations with employees. Congratulate them on their achievements when they occur. If you notice a trouble spot, offer support before it becomes a major problem. When you make this a regular practice, employees know that you are paying attention to their efforts, and that you are there to support them as they perform their duties.
Keep the KPI Clear
You likely already use Key Performance Indicators to measure the health of your company, including how well your employees do their work.
These KPI usually fall into two broad categories. On one hand, there is quantitative data, such as how many deadlines have been met or how many clients signed. On the other, there is a qualitative assessment: what this person brings to your company that doesn’t show in the numbers.
Well before the first formal review, ensure that all employees understand how they are being evaluated. When your staff understand your expectations, you empower them to meet (or exceed) those expectations.
If you follow the advice above, you and the employee will already know what to discuss by the time formal reviews come around. This transparency and preparation make the conversation far more productive overall. It also empowers the employee to be an active participant in the review process.
As this article from The Balance says, you should “aim for performance review meetings in which the employee talks more than half of the time.” Many managers do this by asking the employee to prepare a performance assessment of themselves. But you should also ask them to review their supervisors and the company overall. People “on the ground” will often spot problem areas before management.
When the review of past work is complete, you and your employee should work together to establish a plan of action going forward. Employees are more likely to feel invested in their duties and in the future of the business if they are given an active role in shaping their position.
Employee performance reviews may feel like an unnecessary chore. But they are from it. By establishing clear parameters and involving staff from day one, you are paving the way to increased performance and better staff retention, which means you get to realize your vision that much faster.