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A performance review is defined as an analysis of the work habits of an employee that helps to determine whether he has reached the stated expectations and objective.
This is a defined process as well as a periodic assessment that is undertaken at a fixed time so that it becomes possible to measure and assess the evaluation and know where the employees stand.
It is described as a key that can help to compute the efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity of an employee working in a company. Everyone wants to know how they are faring and are they able to meet the expectations of the company and the management to a full extent.
Several organizations have implemented a formal performance review system so that the employees can know how their performances stack up.
Although the periods of reviews vary as per the discretion of a firm from monthly to half-yearly or quarterly, it is the annual reviews that are the most popular and considered the most credible.
It is essential that a review is conducted in a professional setting and is positive, open, and free from any bias. The team that is meant to do performance reviews must avoid the following
- Too much of negative comments and criticism
- Putting the focus on personality traits instead of job performance
- In the case of poor performance, a threat to take disciplinary action against the employee
- Promotion or compensation related conversation
- Putting their onus only on the most recent activity as the basis for review
- Mentioning irrelevant topics during the review
- Offering feedback that cannot be supported
How to conduct a performance review?
It is no doubt time-consuming, but when done right, it has a direct impact on the productivity and growth of an organization. The following steps can aid in successful performance reviews-
1. Identify the goals of a performance review
Before conducting a performance review, it is essential to be clear in your thought process. Why are you interested in this review? Are you looking to boost the efficiency and productivity of the employee and ultimately the company? Are you worried about employee turnover?
What message do you want to convey to the employee, and what are the topics you want to discuss; are some important questions to be addressed before the review.
2. Do not let outside matters have an impact on the review
Sometimes some people on the review panel have issues with an employee, but this is not the place to discuss them. Here the reviewer must be honest in his dealings and deal only with the problems and not on anything personal
3. Formalize the process
It is essential to make this a formal performance review process so that all the employees take it seriously. The process is for the betterment of an employee and should grant due consideration.
When everything is formalized, no one is going to take it for granted.
4. Keep the communication open
Every employee faces some issues, and it is the review system that can give them the platform to share their concerns. Make this a viable place where the employee can talk without reservation and seek help if and when needed.
Remember this is possible only if the management keeps the communication lines open.
5. Define each role for review clearly
Set goals with a clear timeframe if you are looking for ways to conduct. Define the roles clearly and include duties and objectives that are specific and realistic.
Place a metric to measure the progress towards the goal.
6. Discuss career development
In a performance review, it is easy to talk about the progress, weakness, challenges, strength, and overall growth of the employee. Ask the employees about their hopes, future training, and what they want from this workplace.
Treat this as an opportunity to make your employee happy so that he can work towards reaching company goals and vision. This will boost the productivity of both the employee and the organization.
7. Let employees have a say in the review
Once the role and objective of an employee are defined, the reviewer should provide an opportunity for the employee to offer feedback on them because the employees are best suited to give insight on the skills and goals that are necessary to become successful.
If the employees are involved from the start, it will help to establish a trustworthy relationship and a more in-depth understanding between both the involved parties.
8. Be open about the review
Once an organization has a performance review in place, it should be open about it and share the relevant information with the employees. Make sure the employees are aware of what the process involves, who will be carrying out the review, how often the review will take place and how will the performance of an employee be measured and evaluated.
This will give the employees some time to adjust to the notion and prepare for it.
9. Conduct reviews regularly
Arrange performance reviews regularly so that the employees remain vigilant throughout the year. The more frequent the reviews, the better it is for both parties.
10. Put the onus on solutions and not on issues
Be optimistic and focus on the positive rather than negatives. This will encourage strong performances from the employees because the truth of the matter is that you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Praise is a necessary morale booster than nudges employees to overcome their weaknesses and challenges so that they can move on the right path towards improvement.
11. Encourage two-way feedback
The purpose is to offer feedback to the employees but make it two-way street so that the employees can also provide their viewpoint. This will encourage a healthy relationship between the involved parties.
12. Reviewing objectives regularly
Be ready for change should be the mantra of an organization because the only thing that remains fixed is change. Goals and objectives should not be written in stone instead make them flexible so that they can be changed as per the needs and requirements of a company.
Monitor and make assessments regularly, discuss them with a related employee, and make changes so that efficiency and productivity levels can be increased.
13. Offer actionable feedback
It is easy to tell about the weakness and negative aspects of an employee. The charm lies in giving them clear cut reasons and actionable plans to improve their deficiencies.
The management can take the help of a performance reviewer and come up with a performance plan that can help an employee to break down long-term goals into short-term steps that are achievable and doable.
14. Monitor progress
Monitor the progress of an employee if you are looking for ways to boost the performance of the employee. The management can do so by using metrics and analytics that will measure the progress and monitor them regularly.
15. Reward performance
The actual purpose is to motivate the employees to do better. If the workforce feels that their efforts are appreciated only then will they put a little more effort into it?
Recognize the efforts, accomplishments, and improvements of employees and reward them for their efforts so that they remain engaged, happy, and motivated.
16. Follow up
It is important to follow-up with an informal conversation. Take some time and discuss it with someone you trust. Now make changes accordingly so that you can do better in the next one.
Do’s and don’ts of a performance review
There are several things one should do, and one should not do it in the performance reviews system.
The Do’s are-
- Make the performance review an integral part of the company strategy so that it becomes compulsory for every employee
- The performance review must take place in a cordial setting so that the employee can be relaxed enough to participate honestly
- There should be a provision to keep and maintain a record of all the notes relevant to the performance review
- The notes and information gathered should be appropriately documented for future references
- Make it clear at the start of the year to all the employees that they will be evaluated as per their sessions
- Be direct and honest in your dealings, engage the employees in conversation, and make sure that the employee’s effort is being recognized.
- Make it mandatory for every employee to evaluate their performance. This will help the management to know what the employee’s perception about himself is
- Provide the employees with a copy of the performance review so that they come prepared
- Deliver a positive message by putting the onus on achievements, accomplishments, and strengths
- Be clear and concise in your wordings and dealings to avoid any misunderstandings and misinterpretations
- The performance review platform must be open for the employees throughout the year so that they can clear out any related issues with the management team
- Make it positive criticism when you have to talk about weaknesses
- Make sure an effective performance measurement review system is in place, and the employees know about the essential standards that will be used as an evaluation tool
- Both the involved parties must be prepared before the performance review system to make it more credible
- Do be open-minded about the process and accept the results positively
The Don’ts are-
- Do not provide general feedback. You are interacting with a particular employee and hence relate to his issues and make it personal and specific instead of generalizing the whole problem and making it about everyone
- Do not make it too easy for poor performers otherwise it will become a habit
- This is not the place to talk about compensation
- Don’t harp only on the negatives
- Don’t make discriminatory statements elated to caste, creed, religion, sex or age
- Make it a conversation and don’t try to dominate it
- Do not make it personal
- Do not reshuffle appointments and meetings just for your convenience
- Do not comment about personalities as it will cause more harm than good
- Do not be judgemental
The advantages of performance reviews are as follows-
- It is a platform to garner useful information about the employee that can improve his future productivity and performances
- The performance review is an opportunity for recognizing achievements and accomplishments
- The process helps in finding a better understanding of priorities, responsibilities, and duties in the workplace
- The performance review helps in exploring the weaknesses and strengths of a person
- Employees can be encouraged to become productive and proficient via the performance review process
- It becomes easy to assess the need for training and make suitable arrangements accordingly
Steps necessary before, during and after the performance review
The following steps are necessary in performance reviews system
- Review last year’s performance review
- Identify the goals which you have met and which are still pending
- Think about your productivity, strengths, and weaknesses
- Keep track of your achievements
- Ask your reviewer to review your achievements in an informal setting
- Remember it is a review and treat it as a positive platform
- Have a practical approach
- Talk about career development and growth
- Talk about the ways to overcome inefficiencies
- Do not be defensive and appreciate constructive criticism
- Clarify issues
- Do not ignore the reviewer. Maintain eye contact and let him know you are taking it positively
- Think of the performance review meeting as a learning opportunity
- Take valuable information and reflect on it. Contact your supervisor and clarify on points you think are important
- Ask for performance feedback throughout the year.
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