For many employers, wrapping up the old year includes holding annual employee performance reviews. While reviews may take place at any time of the year (for example, on the anniversary of an employee’s start date), you may want to end the year by resolving any lingering issues that may have gone unaddressed over the past 12 months.
Keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind to help make the most of your performance reviews:
- DO have a system in place for measuring performance. This could be as simple as tracking the number of clients contacted or the number of sales per month. Make sure your employees clearly understand the performance standards against which they will be judged.
- DON’T delay discussing performance issues with an employee. 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.
- DO be direct, factual, and detail-oriented. 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 improve performance and encourage the employee to contribute ideas on how to reach performance goals.
- 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.
- DO document all points covered in the performance review. Performance records can help you keep track of an employee’s progress and may also provide important documentation in the event a disciplinary action, termination or other adverse personnel decision becomes necessary.
- It’s important to be honest with your review–if you provide a very positive review of an employee without detailing the problems, your documentation may not support a future decision to discipline or terminate.
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.