When your employees are happy, motivated, and satisfied with their jobs, they play a clear role in your business's success. That makes encouraging and supporting each employee's individual growth and development important to every business owner. Performance reviews enable you to check in with your employees, determine what they need to succeed at their jobs, and ultimately enhance the operation and success of your business.
Goals of an employee review
One important point to address before beginning your one-on-one employee reviews is to understand the goal of these sessions. Having more clarity about what you want to achieve helps you to shape the review process into an invaluable tool. Some common objectives include:
- providing recognition for accomplishments
- identifying areas in need of improvement
- giving constructive feedback to help strengthen weaknesses
- setting goals for the upcoming year
- establishing an action plan to meet those goals
- obtaining employee feedback for improving managerial actions
- gauging and supporting individual career ambitions
- determining employee compensation
Preparing for the review session
Whether you're providing reviews on an annual, biannual, or quarterly basis, you need to prepare well ahead of the actual review date. Preparation for the review process can include:
- Keeping regular notes on each employee. Throughout the year, spend some time each week taking notes about your employees' performance. Managers who fail to do so often find themselves during the review session focusing only on the employee's most recent tasks, rather than considering the entire review period.
- Asking specific questions. The direction of the employee review is driven largely by the questions you ask. Employee reviews are better when they are a two-way dialogue, as opposed to a top-down approach, so make sure your questions are specific. For example, rather than asking whether an employee is happy in their job, ask which job responsibilities they enjoy the most.
- Asking for employees' self-evaluations. Obtaining your employees' feedback on their own performance prior to conducting the review can be particularly helpful from a management perspective. For example, if an underperforming employee ranks herself highly, the gap between her perception and yours can be a fruitful launching point to a deeper discussion.
How to write an employee review
Writing a constructive employee review is an important skill to cultivate. Consulting your written comments can be helpful for employees as they address the issues and goals you identified and discussed during your face-to-face sessions.
The written review is also important in cases where an employee who has not been performing well continually fails to improve. In such cases, a comprehensive written review plays an important role should you need to terminate the employee.
Keep the following in mind when preparing the written employee review:
- Use specific language. Vague or general wording is not helpful to your employee or for documentation purposes. Whether describing performance issues, recognizing achievements, or outlining a plan for improvement, be as specific as you can.
- Be honest. Although it can be tempting to sugarcoat matters, it's important for a written review to be honest. Be as direct as you can while remembering you are giving feedback not on the employee as a person but on the employee's performance and the results they have achieved.
- Start and end on a positive note. Even if the review has an ultimately negative slant, consider beginning the review by highlighting the employee's achievements and ending with a list of goals and positive words of encouragement for attaining those goals.
While giving direct feedback to your employees can be a challenging task, an employee review can be an optimal tool for motivating employees, supporting their role within your business, recognizing their achievements, and encouraging their future progress.
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