Performance reviews are important for ensuring that your employees are successfully meeting their job requirements, identifying under-performance issues and providing employees with an opportunity to raise any concerns they may have.
Keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind to minimize the stress level for both employees and their managers, as well as maximize the effectiveness of your performance review process:
1. DO have a system in place for measuring performance. Make sure you have a clear system upon which to measure performance and that your employees understand the performance standards against which they will be judged.
- This could be as simple as tracking the number of clients contacted or the number of sales per month, or it could be obtained from sources like customer satisfaction surveys.
2. DON’T delay discussing performance issues with an employee until the annual performance review. When it comes time for the formal review, there really shouldn’t be any surprises if there has been ongoing communication and feedback between the supervisor and employee.
3. DO be direct, factual and detail-oriented. A well-prepared and honest performance review is key to managing employee performance and helping to achieve your company’s goals by aligning your employees’ development and growth with that of your business.
- Provide a clear, concise explanation of the issues you wish to address with the employee and provide specific examples.
- Discuss a plan of action for helping the employee to improve performance and encourage the employee to contribute ideas on how to reach performance goals.
4. DON’T make negative comments that attack an employee’s attitude rather than performance. Be sure to review the employee’s overall performance based upon specific, job-related criteria and provide concrete examples of performance problems.
5. DO document all points covered in the performance review. Accurate documentation allows for ongoing feedback and can help you measure an employee’s progress. Performance records can also provide important documentation for your company in the event a disciplinary action, termination or other adverse personnel decision becomes necessary.
- Remember to be honest with your review–if you provide a very positive review of an employee without detailing the problems, you now have documentation that does not support a decision to discipline or terminate. If a lawsuit surrounding the termination occurs, it may be more difficult to defend your company’s actions.
Remember to treat all of your employees equitably when it comes to performance reviews, and avoid any statements or actions that can be construed as discriminatory. If you have any questions regarding discrimination matters, contact an employment law attorney who knows your state laws. Our section on Performance Reviews provides additional information and resources including preparation steps, tips on how to conduct a performance review meeting and sample forms.