Let’s face it—many managers hate doing performance reviews! They’d rather do something more enjoyable—like their taxes, or their children’s FAFSA application. Here are some good suggestions to help you make the next performance review a little easier:
-Know your corporate and departmental goals. Job descriptions and performance objectives must be linked to them. If they’re not, then how can you accurately measure performance?
-Get input from employees on what key skills, knowledge, and tasks are required to perform their positions effectively. Who knows the job better than the person performing it?
-Set goals for employees that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
-Encourage each employee to set performance goals prior to each review period. This ensures buy-in with the process, and mutual understanding between the manager and employee as to what the goals are.
-Be proactive and track performance throughout the entire review period. Keep a folder for each employee, and regularly record information about their performance throughout the year. Do you really want to be two weeks away from doing a review and trying to remember what the employee did or didn’t do over the course of the year?
-Utilize information gained through observation, metrics, and feedback from internal and external customers when putting together performance data on each employee.
-Have regular “reality checks” on performance with each employee. This can be done informally or in meetings. Reality checks allow you to address issues quickly and get them resolved before a problem becomes insurmountable. Reality checks also allow the manager to change performance objectives if they’re no longer applicable.
-Allow a trusted person in management or HR to read your performance review prior to meeting with the employee. A second set of eyes is a great benefit, and can help you add valuable feedback or help you adjust the tone of the review if needed.
-Rehearse the review. This allows you to conduct the actual review smoothly and within time constraints. It’s also important to anticipate possible questions from the employee, and prepare your answers to them.
-Give your employees an opportunity to sleep on what was discussed in the review and the chance to seek clarification with you the next day. This can allow important new information to be discussed, or to help diffuse any tension that may have occurred on the day of the review.
-Critique yourself after each review to see where you can improve the next time.
Using these tips will help make the review process easier, more accurate, and improve employee performance. I offer a four hour training seminar on this subject if you want to learn more about this important managerial responsibility.