Why Your Shouldn't Nix Employee Performance Reviews-And 6 Ways To Improve Them
January 2, 2019
By: Cathie Ericson
Employee performance reviews get a bad rap—after all, they are typically time-consuming, nerve-wracking (for both parties) and can feel ineffective as a true measure of an employee’s performance and contribution to a company.
But that might be related to how they are typically conducted: once a year, usually at the end of the year right before the holidays, and using one-size-fits-all forms to evaluate everyone from warehouse workers to marketing managers.
The truth is that employee performance reviews can play an important role in helping you lead and cultivate a happier, more motivated staff. Here are six ways your small business can create a more meaningful performance review process.
1. Set new goals
It’s no secret that many small business employees wear numerous hats, which is often one of the draws of working for a small business. But often those added responsibilities don’t leave time for big-picture planning. A formal performance review process encourages you to talk to each employee about their growth and what they want to accomplish in the coming months to help keep them excited about their job. After all, employee retention is top of mind for almost every small business owner these days—which it should be, considering more than half of workers intend to look for a new job in 2019.
2. Track achievement of those goals
A common complaint about employee performance reviews is that they aren’t customized to each person, but once your employee has set goals, it’s vital to follow through and celebrate individual achievements. Ideally you are having regular conversations with your team member to track against certain goals, and this annual ritual is the right time to assess how far they climbed—and what they might need to be even more successful next year. Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report found that an astonishing 85 percent of employees are not engaged at work. Tracking progress toward meaningful goals can help your team members coalesce around a purpose.
3. Offer constructive feedback
It’s a natural tendency to want to avoid confrontation, but if an employee isn’t performing well, it’s in your company’s best interest to address the issue. And believe it or not, they appreciate it. A study in Harvard Business Review found that nearly three-quarters of respondents said they thought their performance would improve if their manager offered corrective feedback. Having a regular review process in place can provide a structured and confidential way of addressing workplace problems.
4. Give them the floor
Even more uncomfortable than giving advice? Finding out that you could use some work, too. However, an effective performance review isn’t one-sided. Instead it should be an honest, two-way conversation that provides plenty of opportunities for employees to reflect on their own performance, as well as that of the manager and the company as a whole.
5. Acknowledge a job well done
As a small business owner, it can be easy to forget to praise individual employees for excellent performance; after all, it’s their job. However, appreciation is important and receiving strong marks on a performance review can motivate your team to continue doing great work. In fact, almost 70 percent of employees said they would work harder if they felt their talents were better recognized. Always remember that “thank you” is both free and priceless.
6. Don’t make it a one-and-done exercise
One of the biggest complaints about reviews is that they dredge up performance issues of the past…consulting firm Deloitte stopped the traditional practice when more than half of managers said reviews didn’t serve their intended purpose. However, successful companies realize that should indicate the need for more feedback, rather than less. In fact, nearly three-quarters of employees prefer to get their feedback right away, finds a survey by ClearCompany, a talent management platform. Regular check-ins on a weekly or monthly basis can help you and your employees course correct as needed and stay on track to achieve the performance goals that have been set.
About the Author
Cathie Ericson is a freelance writer covering business and consumer topics. She creates branded content for Fortune 500 companies, and her work has appeared in LearnVest, Costco Magazine, Forbes, TheGlassHammer.com and IDEA Fitness. Follow her @cathieericson.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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