Fourth quarter is right around the corner, and for many management teams that means it’s time for annual employee performance reviews. Most businesses have some type of performance measurement and review procedure in place; however, their effectiveness can vary greatly between companies. According to research conducted by WorldatWork, a not-for-profit organization focused on global human resources issues, 47% of employees view performance management as merely an “HR process” rather than a critical business process, and 63% say their managers lack the courage to have difficult performance discussions.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you begin to schedule your annual performance reviews to help ensure the meetings are productive.
Preparing for an employee’s performance review means more than simply scheduling a time and date. Be sure to allow plenty of time before the meeting to gather and review any necessary support information such as personnel files, production numbers, significant achievements, etc. It’s also important to have a detailed outline to help guide the review and ensure all the important points are covered.
Meet Somewhere Comfortable and Private
Get away from distractions. Whether it means locking yourself in a conference room or meeting at an offsite location, find a place where you can have a private, uninterrupted conversation with your employee. It can be difficult to truly focus on addressing performance issues when you have to constantly stop and regroup.
Make It a Conversation
A performance review should be a two-way discussion, not a checklist of rights and wrongs. Just as you should strive to enter into deeper conversations about employees’ job performances, your employees should feel comfortable discussing their concerns, which may even include what they need and expect from you as a leader.
Encourage Employees to Suggest Solutions
Once you have celebrated the successes of the past year and identified the areas that need improvement, let your employee suggest solutions to any performance issues that need to be addressed. It will be easier for them to commit to making a change if they’ve helped lay the groundwork.
Put It in Writing
Aside from providing important documentation should you ever have to defend yourself or your company in an unemployment or wrongful termination lawsuit, having a written record of an employee performance review can serve as a valuable motivational and measurement tool. Throughout the year, you or your employees can refer to the documentation to make sure progress is being made or to refocus efforts if they’re falling short of performance goals.
Employee performance reviews shouldn’t be a tenuous process. When done correctly, a performance review can be a vital tool to help guide an employee’s development as well as drive productivity, innovation, and stability for the company as a whole.