Your employees are among your company’s greatest assets. As an employer, your job is to help your employees cultivate their strengths and improve upon their weaknesses to build a more powerful team. That’s where performance reviews come in. These periodic assessments help you evaluate your staff so they can grow. Therefore, to help you conduct employee performance evaluation successfully, here are top 5 performance review tips.
1. Choose the Right Time for Employee Evaluations
Timing matters when you’re conducting performance reviews. The best time for reviews is during a slow period for your company. This is when you’ll have time to prepare and conduct reviews without hindering productivity. Choose a time when there’s room in the budget for bonuses and raises. Financial incentives can be a great way to reward employees for a positive evaluation.
2. Performance Goals in Advance
The most effective performance reviews help employees understand how they’re measuring up to goals and metrics. Don’t have existing goals? Now’s the time to start. About six months before you want to hold reviews, meet with each of your employees to set individual milestones and expectations. For a salesperson, you might agree to aim for monthly sales goals and a certain number of new clients. For your marketing manager, you could choose goals such as increased social media following, more repeat business, or a product-specific marketing campaign. Setting these goals in advance creates the foundation for your first set of performance reviews.
3. Take Notes on Employee Performance
When you’re running a busy company, it’s easy to forget about things that happened a few months ago. This in turn limits reviews to recent history. A more effective strategy is to keep a running set of notes on each employee. You might include client compliments or complaints, big achievements, or comments on interpersonal issues. When review time rolls around, you can pull from the notes to see how each employee is improving and pinpoint recurring weak areas. This also helps you spot positive patterns so you can harness them for the good of the business.
4. Focus on Employee Results
When you’re giving a performance review, goals and expectations should form the foundation. You might run through each item and talk about how the employee measured up. It’s important to allow time for the employee to offer valuable feedback. Open conversation can help you set more realistic goals or identify operational changes that can help employees work more efficiently. A two-way discussion also helps the employee feel heard and validated.
After you cover performance metrics, touch on any other outstanding issues. You might praise the employee for improvements, discuss interpersonal issues or mention any areas of concern.
5. Make an Employee Development Plan
The final part of an employee performance review involves planning for the future. Together, you and the employee can set new goals for the next review period. Agree on specific steps and milestones that each of you will take, and be sure to write them down for easy reference. This part of the review is also a great time to work on career development. If you’ve noticed that clients always comment on a person’s professionalism, for example, you might give that person more client-facing responsibilities.
Preparation goes a long way towards taking the stress out of performance reviews. When everyone knows what to expect, you can turn the evaluations into positive, constructive experiences for both you and your staff.