Performance reviews are a staple of many company’s management strategies, but they aren’t always helpful. If not properly done, they can become homogenous and their insights insignificant. If you’re in human resources or management, here are five tips that will help make sure your performance reviews are useful for both your company and its employees.
Make Time for Performance Reviews
Performance reviews are often neglected because there’s not time to complete them. They’re another task that managers must complete, but time is rarely devoted specifically to them. Managers are forced to fit performance reviews into already hectic schedules. What should be meaningful conversations become five-minute meetings that take place between (or even during) other tasks.
A year, or even six months, of work can’t adequately be assessed in five minutes. If performance reviews are to provide individualized insights into employees’ performance, there must be time specifically set aside for them. Consider giving managers a half hour to an hour that’s solely to meet with an employee and discuss how they’re doing. If managers will still be tempted to shortchange the time, give them funds to go out for lunch with each employee. Conducting a review during a meal will ensure that there’s adequate time.
Speak About Specific Situations
Just as you want to hear about specific instances from interviewees, managers should speak of specific situations when conducting performance reviews. Every item on a review should be supported by a specific example. What employees do well should be precisely detailed, along with the exact things they can do to improve.
Keep Ongoing Notes to Reference
Performance reviews are meant to cover a specified amount of time, often either six months or a year. Many times, however, only the weeks immediately preceding a review are assessed. It’s too difficult to remember everything an employee did over several months or a year, especially when managing multiple employees.
In order to accurately assess an employee over the entire duration of a review, managers should keep ongoing notes on all of the employees they oversee. While employees in your company may already be written up for serious errors, managers should also keep notes on the good things that employees do. These notes will help form the foundation of a comprehensive review, and they can provide specific examples for the review.
Suggest Ways to Improve
Performance reviews shouldn’t just be about what the employee has done in the past. They should also give the employee ways to improve in the future. When critiquing, don’t just be critical. Be constructive. Help employees identify ways they can improve, and offer to help them as they strive for those goals. Although there may be some negative items on a review, offering constructive ways to improve will give employees hope that they can get a better review in the future.
Have Two-Way Conversations
Performance reviews are much more productive when employees are actively engaged. To encourage employees to take part, turn reviews into two-way conversations rather than one-way monologues. Even if you don’t want to debate an employee’s review with them, they should at least have an opportunity to ask questions and explain their personal goals.
Don’t let your company’s performance reviews become a mere formality that managers squeeze in. Instead, make sure they’re a valuable part of your company’s management strategy by making time for them, speaking about specifics, referencing notes, being constructive and having a conversation. These five actions are simple, but they’ll have a profound effect on how beneficial your company’s performance reviews are.