For employers, wrapping up the old year may involve closing your books, finalizing your budget and scheduling your employees' annual performance reviews. While reviews can be done at any time of the year (for example, on the anniversary of an employee's start date), you may want to end the year by resolving any lingering issues that may have gone unaddressed during the past 12 months.
Performance reviews are important for ensuring that your employees have the right skills for the job, identifying under-performance issues and providing employees with an opportunity to raise any concerns they may have. However, a review can be just as stressful for a manager as for the employee.
The following dos and don'ts can help you make the most of your employee performance reviews and stay in compliance with the law:
- DO have a system in place for measuring performance. Make sure you have a clear system upon which to measure performance and that your employees understand the performance standards against which they will be judged.
- This could be as simple as tracking the number of clients contacted or the number of sales per month, or it could be obtained from sources like customer satisfaction surveys.
- DON'T delay discussing performance issues with an employee until the annual performance review. When it comes time for the formal review, there really shouldn't be any surprises if there has been ongoing communication and feedback between the supervisor and employee.
- DO be direct, factual and detail-oriented. A well-prepared and honest performance review is key to managing employee performance and helping to achieve your company's goals by aligning your employees' development and growth with that of your business.
- Provide a clear, concise explanation of the issues you wish to address with the employee and provide specific examples.
- Discuss a plan of action for helping the employee to improve performance and encourage the employee to contribute ideas on how to reach performance goals.
- DON'T make negative comments that attack an employee's attitude rather than performance. Focus instead on specific, job function-based examples of performance problems.
- DO document all points covered in the performance review. Accurate documentation allows for ongoing feedback and can help you measure the employee's progress. If you decide at some point to terminate an employee, accurate documentation of past performance reviews may also help to support your position in the event of a lawsuit.
It's important to be honest with your review-if you provide a very positive review of an employee without detailing the problems, your documentation may not support a future decision to discipline or terminate.
And it goes without saying that you should treat all of your employees equitably, avoiding any statements or actions that can be construed as discriminatory. If you have any questions regarding discrimination matters, contact an employment law attorney who knows your state laws.
For Additional Information
Our section on Performance Reviews provides even more information and resources including preparation steps, tips on how to conduct a performance review meeting, and sample forms.
Eliminate the stress by downloading HR360's FREE All-in-One Performance Review Kit, featuring 3 must-have tools (video, checklist, and customizable employee evaluation form) to help you and your employees get the most out of each performance review.
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