From both sides of the conference table, performance reviews often are considered one of the least liked and feared parts of working within an organization. The employer or manager may not have kept accurate records of an employee’s progress, is unable to highlight performance highs & lows, and is not sure how to encourage the employee to set new goals based on the performance review. Employees may feel they did not receive the performance review they truly deserve, perhaps viewing their managers as overly critical. How does an organization get past these issues and make performance reviews enjoyable? Astronology® investigates the concerns associated with traditional performance reviews.
The Performance Reviewer
One of the key issues an employer or manager must consider when creating a cohesive and thorough performance review is making sure the system’s objectives are clearly stated at the start of, and are met upon completion of, the review. For example, is the performance review primarily for the good of the organization, or for the individual? Susan Heathfield, a human resource expert suggests, “If the true goal of the performance appraisal is employee development and organizational improvement, consider moving to a performance management system.”
Astron Solutions’ Flare® provides an easy to use performance management system. The system is fully configurable to meet any organization’s needs, no matter their size, in automating performance reviews.
Susan also provides these helpful tips to ensure effective performance discussions:
• Make sure that the Job Description is accurate.
• Help create performance goals that are measurable.
• Provide feedback on the employee’s performance throughout the year.
• Maintain records or small notes on contributions and problems.
• Develop coaching or mentoring techniques to apply to the employee.
Applying these helpful tips, or transitioning to a performance management system, can help make the performance review process more efficient and pleasant for both the reviewer & the employee.
Time for Your Report Card
Performance reviews usually bring anxiety and nervousness to employees. Will this be a good review or a bad one? Did I do everything I could to contribute to the organization? Will the reviewer be critical of every error I have made? Did I make too many errors?
Just like the reviewer has to prepare for the performance review, the employee also needs to make preparations. For starters, if the employer or manager hasn’t put an employee on schedule for a performance review, he / she shouldn’t be afraid to ask and schedule one. The review allows employees to see what areas of improvement the employer desires. In addition, employees should not think that they are supposed to be silent during the performance review meeting. Employees need to know that they should come prepared to the meeting, with qualitative & quantitative references of work achievements, such as sales numbers, responses from satisfied clients, and any successful projects spearheaded or contributed to. By asking the manager to help establish performance review goals for the next year, employees may impress upon their managers eagerness to stay up-to-date with the organization and help the organization to grow.
Monster.com provides these additional tips for the employee going into a performance review:
• Know your career path.
• Ask your supervisor the measurements of a performance review.
• Agree and stick to the performance plan for next year.
• Do not take anything that is said as personal.
The Total Rewards Component
Organizations need to consider the additional benefits of offering a performance management process to their employees. According to National Director Jennifer Loftus, “performance management and recognition is one of the five elements of total rewards. In today’s challenging business environment, proactive organizations are motivating & retaining employees by using all elements of total rewards, particularly the non-cash components.” Total rewards – everything an organization offers its employees – encompasses cash compensation, benefits, work / life balance, career advancement & development, and performance management & recognition. The performance appraisal process should be an on-going opportunity to celebrate successes, and remind employees that we appreciate their efforts. Well-timed praise or minor course corrections are more effective than later addressing the costs of turnover impacting an organization’s bottom line.
A Growing Change in Format
Concerns such as time commitment, technical complications, and confidence in accuracy have led to a growing trend of ditching traditional performance reviews. For more details and examples on this new topic of discussion, please read our Astronology® article “Forgoing Annual Performance Reviews: What Are the Alternatives?”.
Performance reviews do not have to be the bane of an organization’s existence. With proper evaluation, thorough communication, and a basic conceptual foundation on why the performance review takes place, the process can become a “look forward to” event for both managers & employees.