An annual employee review process is important to schedule for your organization. It says to each employee “you are important and we care about your success.” All too often these reviews are short, cursory conversations where a boss sits down for only a few minutes with an employee just so one more thing can be checked off a to-do list. Sometimes annual reviews are skipped altogether. That’s a shame because when used correctly annual employee reviews can improve company performance, morale and value. Annual reviews should be timely, planned, well-thought out and include input from a variety of team members.
Define Employee Performance
Managers should rate each employee on the following scale to fairly assess employees:
5. Exceptional – Always exceeds/meets expectations with many exceptional attributes and is promotable.
4. Superior – Continually exceeds expectations and takes on additional responsibility, potentially promotable.
3. Solid – Routinely meets expectations and meets most measurable goals. May show growth potential or may be suited long-term at current level.
2. Needs Improvement – Meets some expectations and some measured goals. Note: It is important to also decide if this person is ascending toward a three rating or descending toward a one rating.
1. Poor – Rarely meets expectations, without immediate improvement, needs re-direction or simply needs to pursue employment elsewhere.
When deciding how each employee ranks, keep in mind that the higher the grading standards are set, the better the results will be for team improvement. When standards are kept high, it proves to the rest of the team what expectations are. When those who reach your “exceptional” category are promoted, the standard is set of what is expected from others who want to be successful. Along the way, an unintentional side effect is that managers begin to notice an improvement in the quality of candidates they hire because they learn how to identify employees who can reach their expectations.
Provide Honest Feedback
It is disappointing to realize how many managers are afraid to grade their valued employees honestly in a review. They often fear upsetting the employee or discouraging their efforts, but hiding the truth from your employees only sets them and the organization up for failure. A review should never be a reward or a reprimand – it should be a fair assessment of an employee’s performance, planned in advance, so that both the supervisor and the employee can properly prepare. These should take place at least once a year. The review should be based upon meeting company expectations through previously outlined clear and measurable goals.
When done properly, an employee review should:
A. Accurately portray the results of the performance period, including achievements and shortcomings.
B. Encourage a continuation of efforts in the areas of positive performance. C. Outline a path for improvement for areas of deficiency.
D. If needed, discuss potential consequences if certain improvements are not realized over a set period of time.
As a supervisor, it is your responsibility to build and develop an effective team. Teams need honest feedback in order to get better. After all, you cannot expect employees to improve if they haven’t been told what they need to work on. Take the time to evaluate your organization’s review process. While the review may sound daunting this nominal time investment and procedure shift will benefit all employees and is an investment in success. Learning to give proper reviews increases efficiency, effectiveness, morale and company performance.
Download a PDF of this article here.