Performance reviews should ideally cover all aspects of the employee's work life.
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It should allow an assessment of performance in that year, and also include talk of his preferences for the future.
Let's start with measuring past performance. The employee should state the main job functions in his role and rate his own performance for the year. He should be asked to support his assessment clearly. The employee should also be allowed to state major projects that he had undertaken that year and similarly assess his own performance.
You can implement a numerical rating to quantify the whole review. However, the rating must still be accompanied by written support of it. This serves as good documentation for reference and for the records.
Next, you need include a section that discusses what the employee wants to partake in the future. Perhaps he wants to be more involved in organizing corporate events, or he has got wind of an overseas project coming up within the next year and wishes to be involved. Rather than just having a 'wish-list', the employee should be asked to cite reasons for expressing interest and also back up his ability to handle the aforementioned projects.
If you have in mind several projects that you want the employee to focus on in the next year, you should take this opportunity to hear his thoughts on them. Communicating early allows both parties to shift their schedules and plans accordingly as both know what to expect. The employee benefits by having sufficient time to research and prepare for the upcoming projects. It also gives you a chance to swap around team members if he has informed you of his unavailability.
The next part of the review is about continuous training. Training sessions are a big part of many organizations. Often, they make sure employees undergo a certain number of hours of training a year. People often want to improve their skills in certain areas so you should hear what the employee has a keen interest in learning.
Finally, you may wish to take a step back to look at the big picture before rounding up the review. Having reviewed the past performance and looked into future expectations, you are in an appropriate position to judge the employee's progress on the career path. Assess areas in which he needs to build up over the next year. For example, if he is due for a promotion to manager or supervisor in one or two years, he should be given more chances to hone leadership skills.
To conclude, the performance review, as we have discussed, does not need to be a complex matrix of figures. For a performance review to be meaningful, it needs to achieve three basic objectives – evaluate past performance, plan for future projects and functions, and identify areas of improvement.