I feel sorry for performance reviews. No, I really do! They are almost universally hated – by Managers who spend considerable time analysing and reviewing them, for staff who spend time completing them and HR Managers and Business leaders who devise them. There also seems to be a mis-alignment of the role that performance reviews should have within a business and how they are used. Performance reviews can be a great tool to measure performance against agreed targets, which should align to business objectives. Done the right way, performance reviews should provide clarity as to how employees are performing: it’s an opportunity for exceptional performance to be praised and for employees who need redirection to have more clarity as to the roles and responsibilities required of them.
One of the ongoing issues with performance reviews is their perception by staff: employees can feel that they are ‘under the microscope’ or their work is not appreciated. However, performance reviews should not comprise the totality of the performance discussions in the business – it should instead be a formal process that confirms what is already known to both the Manager and the employee. It’s important that there are regular and ongoing conversations about how the role contributes to the success of the business and how the employee is performing in it.
So what are the hacks to developing effective performance reviews that actually work and deliver results for the business?
Ensure staff are aware of expectations early on
If you’ve ever experienced a situation where there has been a lack of clarity about the work you have been doing and the work you should be doing, you’ll appreciate the importance of clear expectations. All new and existing employees should have a job description and should also have regular check-ins with their manager as to any changes in their responsibilities. Additionally, there should be clarity surrounding agreed performance of these responsibilities. Another way of tackling this is for the employee and manager to set performance goals together. Ensure staff have a copy of these goals to use to guide their work.
Make sure they are prepared
Either provide employees with a calendar of review times or give them at least two weeks’ notice that their performance review is approaching and either provide them with a template to complete or ask them to answer some questions with regards to their work performance over the last 6 months. This will give them the ‘heads up’ that the performance review time is approaching.
Provide timely feedback
More and more, employees are wanting timely feedback on their projects. Of course, this makes total sense, but it doesn’t always happen. Who wants to hear feedback 6 months after a project is completed and how is that helpful? This is where regular catch ups regarding performance are essential.
If your business would like support developing an effective performance review system, speak to the HR Consulting team at Flexi Personnel.