13 Tips for Conducting Performance Reviews with Employees
Every business, regardless of the size, should conduct employee performance reviews at least annually. This process gives employers a chance to let employees know that they are valued and that their efforts are appreciated, and it also affords an opportunity to address any areas that may need improvement.
As an employer, it's not easy to have to tell an employee that there may be aspects of their performance that you are not happy with, but it is essential to overall productivity and job satisfaction, and will significantly impact the success of your business. It is important to establish good honest two-way communication in your employee reviews. You can overcome the uncomfortable aspects of the review by sticking to a few simple rules. Here is a list of 13 tips to help you conduct successful and effective employee performance reviews.
1. Don't improvise the interview. Be prepared. Have a written agenda and script outline for the meeting, and practice it beforehand so you're familiar with it and so that you can carry on regardless of the employee's response to any negative comments.
2. Start the meeting with a bit of small talk to put you both at ease.
3. Summarize the employee's overall performance at the beginning of the interview so that the employee will not spend the rest of the review trying to figure out where they stand. The employee may want to discuss their rating immediately, but try to put this off until after you thoroughly review the employee's overall performance.
4. Review the employee's strengths first. Reaffirm the importance of the employee's contributions to your business before dealing with any weaknesses.
5. Suggest areas of improvement. Unless the employee's performance is truly exceptional, there are probably at least some areas that show room for improvement. When reviewing weaknesses, be as specific as possible, citing examples, particularly if discussing a general topic like an employee's overall attitude.
6. Do not be confrontational or argumentative. Do not offer personal criticism. Your goal is to evaluate the person's work performance and to improve employee morale.
7. Give the employee a chance to provide their thoughts and input, so that they know you value their opinions. This open atmosphere will encourage employees to discuss any real concerns they have and to address those concerns in a satisfactory manner.
8. Confront issues head on. The employee may take issue with your assessment. In that case, let them know that while you understand that they may not agree with you, this will not affect the review.
9. Be consistent in your reviews. All employees should be reviewed on the same criteria, relative to their job requirements. Exemplary efforts should be praised, and weak performers should be told that they need to improve.
10. Recap the employee's overall performance. If a raise or promotion is forthcoming, give the employee details of the raise / promotion and the date on which it will become effective.
11. Look to the future. The review process offers an opportunity to discuss the employee's future career plans and to examine what avenues of advancement may exist within the company.
12. End the review on a high note. Unless the employee's performance is very unsatisfactory, you should always end the review on a positive note, confirming how much the company values and appreciates the employee's efforts.
13. Conduct your employee evaluations on a regular basis, so that everyone knows when to expect them. This avoids conducting a review only when necessitated by an employee's poor performance.
Employee reviews should boost morale and help sustain a high level of performance and productivity. If your staff feels appreciated and adequately compensated for their efforts, their job satisfaction increases, turnover levels are minimal, and employees are motivated to do their best. An Employee Evaluation Form is a valuable tool to help you record your thoughts, comments, questions and discussion points throughout the performance interview.