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Does Your Performance Review Process Really Work?

January 12th, 2016

When done well, a performance review is a chance for you to provide guidance, set expectations, and improve productivity/efficiency. When done poorly, a performance review is a waste of time for all parties involved. In order to avoid missing out on a major managerial opportunity, look for the signs that indicate your performance review process may not be working.

You Barely Prepare for the Review

You have a lot to do already, which can make it difficult to spend much time preparing for performance reviews, especially if you have a big team. But ultimately that preparation is the substance of the review. If you don’t make the effort to fully survey an employee’s performance, output, and attitude it’s impossible to provide them with an honest or meaningful critique.

You Don’t Prepare the Employee

Too often, the performance review process lacks transparency. The employee doesn’t know exactly what they’re being appraised on, what period of time has been reviewed, what benchmarks they’re being compared to, and how the appraisal was conducted. This uncertainty naturally puts the employee on edge and makes them suspicious of the process. Start your review by clearly laying out your agenda and methods.

You Have a One Way Discussion

A performance review should be a discussion, not a lecture. If you’re doing all the talking, you’re missing out on a lot of valuable information and making the employee feel like they’re under attack. Provide your perspective, but make sure to ask the employee how he feels about his own performance, what goals were and were not met, and what changes he would like to make in the future.

You Hesitate to Offer Praise

Performance reviews should provide a balance of positive and negative feedback, but that doesn’t mean you should temper your praise. If an employee has turned in an outstanding performance, let her know about it and be sure to offer your gratitude. Recognition can be a powerful motivator, and a valuable resource to draw on when you can’t offer more tangible rewards.

You Shy Away from Criticism

More common is the opposite of the previous point. In an effort to provide balance you tone down or walk back from criticisms you planned to address. You shouldn’t be aggressive, but if there are clear performance issues this is the time to point them out and establish a clear plan for improvement. Let the employee know what you expect, when you expect it, and what kind of consequences are on the table.

You End Early

Make sure not to end your performance review until both parties are on the same page. If an employee is unclear about what is working, what is not, and how things will operate moving forward, then the whole process has been a waste. Take some time at the end of the review to address any confusions/concerns.

You probably just completed end-of-the-year performance reviews, which makes now a natural time to reflect on the success or failure of the process. Be honest about what is not working and your next review cycle will be your best one yet. Learn more about effectively managing your team by contacting the Concorde Group.

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