Most employees love annual performance reviews.
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Employers, on the other hand, aren't nearly as enthusiastic. That's because in many companies, performance evaluations have devolved into mini-prep rallies and employee love fests. Rather than evaluating employee performance in a substantive way, some employers are content to offer up a high-level performance review, a few glowing remarks and an encouragement to "keep up the good work."
Those kinds of employee performance evaluations aren't helpful to anyone. Your employees are actually eager to receive an honest evaluation of their performance and insights about how they can do their jobs more productively. And as an employer, a comprehensive evaluation process improves employee retention by providing a basis for performance-based pay increases and other rewards.
Fortunately, annual employee performance reviews don't have to be incredibly time-consuming or complicated. All it takes is a commitment to implement a few common sense features into your company's performance review process.
- Performance logs. Performance logs and other documents provide the raw materials you need to perform a meaningful employee review. If you don't currently require workers to document their activities and outcomes, change your policy and communicate the reason for the change.
- Tone. The tone of the annual performance evaluations should always be encouraging and positive. If the employee is falling short in some areas, talk about it, but give them sound advice about how they can make improvements.
- Intangible measurements. Not all outcomes can be easily measured. Yet effective employee reviews require measurements for all outcomes – even intangible ones. Instead of relying on numbers, consider using concrete examples to measure performance in areas like integrity, work ethic and teamwork.
- Self-evaluation. Many employers ask their employees to provide a self-review or self-assessment prior to the annual review. This gives the employee the opportunity to come clean about growth areas and to participate in the process.
- Goal clarification. Annual performance reviews are also a perfect opportunity for discussions about career and personal goals. If your employee is planning to leave in a year to become an organic fruit farmer, it could change their short-term role in the company.
- Evaluation inflation. Be careful to avoid the artificial inflation of your performance reviews. Be positive, but don't be afraid to identify problems and growth areas when they arise.