An unsettling trend has emerged in the business world that has seen performance reviews unceremoniously fall by the wayside. But with the right Performance Management technology, performance reviews can be built for a modern, more integrated workforce and prove even more beneficial than before.
On the one hand, it is easy to see why this happened. The review process can easily break down thanks to underprepared management, overly subjective feedback, and a lack of transparency. With all the potential pitfalls, it’s no wonder that less than one-third of employees enjoy the performance review process.
On the other hand, performance reviews have incredible potential to motivate your best employees, improve weaker employees, and identify workflow bottlenecks within the company. So, while performance reviews themselves remain a crucial tool for businesses, it is actually the method and management of the review process that is often lacking and outdated. But with the right performance management technology in place, your reviews can prove worthwhile once again with improved collaboration, efficiency, and job satisfaction among your employees.
Here are seven tips to get the most out of your employee review process:
Conduct reviews more than once a year
For many companies, the old routine was annual employee assessments around the end of year. The same meeting that reviewed the employee’s performance for the year would also be the time to discuss a raise and distribute bonuses. For most employees, important questions about compensation will be huge distractions from any kind of meaningful discussion about job performance on projects throughout the year. Since the bonus and raise are generally decided in advance, the meeting can feel less like a meaningful dialogue and more like a justification for whatever decision has already been made.
The frequency of meetings may vary with workflow, but weekly one-on-ones between management and employees are ideal for developing teams and in-house management skills. Weekly meetings wouldn’t require detailed metrics and self-assessment surveys, but they could be opportunities to check key productivity indicators and keep channels of communication open. It’s a good idea to have a more formal assessment and review at least twice a year, if not quarterly. To spread out the burden on managers of large teams, review dates can be aligned with each employee’s hiring anniversary.
Give employees advance notice and invite their input
“Come to my office” can be an intimidating proposition for employees to hear, a bit like being called to the principal’s office at school. When you have the right system in place, the review process should be as transparent as possible, with ample warning and time for employees to prepare. Your staff should be focused on their daily job, not wondering when their next evaluation might happen.
When you have formal evaluations, an employee signature proves they heard the feedback. Evaluations must be documented in case they become a contested factor in termination or other management decisions. Instead of simply asking for a signature, including time and space for employee input makes the process more collaborative. For annual or semi-annual reviews, include opportunities for staff to rate their own performance, as well as management and peers.
Be honest and as transparent as possible
When evaluations include feedback from peers and subordinates, some of the comments will naturally need to be kept anonymous. Still, the majority of the feedback and performance metrics should be as transparent as possible. Especially if weekly meetings have included productivity scores and addressed recent issues, the semi-annual review shouldn’t include any big surprises. When employees have failed to hit benchmarks or meet expectations, those events need to be included in reviews. Otherwise, if performance problems haven’t been documented, the reviews could become a liability when termination or other consequences are necessary.
Emphasize strengths and successes
Reviews shouldn’t focus exclusively on problems with the employee. This should also be the opportunity to celebrate success and recognize employee achievements. If you’ve had positive feedback from clients about your employee’s work, those acknowledgments can help demonstrate that the hard work is being noticed. If the whole evaluation process focuses on shortfalls, then employees are encouraged to discover the bare minimum for positive scores. Some of the behaviors and excellence you want to reward and encourage won’t fit naturally into any of the categories on the standardized review, but it’s still important to acknowledge those employees who go the extra mile.
Standardize the process and scoring
Performance management solutions allow you to develop custom evaluations that track the metrics most relevant for your company. When each employee is rated on the same metrics from one year to the next, it becomes easier to address performance issues and measure improvements over time. When employees use the same software to give feedback on management and colleague performance, the process feels less arbitrary and more intuitive. Subjective interpersonal ratings shouldn’t eclipse hard data about meeting deadlines and concrete work performance, but subjective scores can help identify communication issues and other conflicts.
Set professional development goals
When meetings happen more frequently than once a year, it’s easier to get to know individual employees. Most employees are motivated to continue learning new skills and continuing to improve at their job. Rather than continually moving the goalpost for higher efficiency at routine tasks, it will be helpful to ask which areas the employee wants to explore. If they’re meeting with management on a weekly or monthly basis, there may be special projects and other opportunities for each employee to focus on their preferred skills.
Invest in performance management software
When using an integrated performance management system, company and individual goals have a much better chance of succeeding, best practices and improvement plans can be implemented more easily, and the entire process will be managed more comprehensively and efficiently. When employees receive consistent and accurate feedback, 68% report job fulfillment. The easiest way to improve consistency and accuracy is to track the same performance metrics for each employee and make the process a routine. With performance management software, you can assign custom number ranges and data points for evaluations—and the same system can be used for employees across a department or entire company.
An integrated performance management solution also allows your company to get the most out of the results and retain historical performance review data to monitor progress over time. And when it is integrated with the rest of your HR technology, you can easily incorporate time and attendance, HR and company-wide policies, and payroll and compensation into your process.
NetPerform, Netchex’s performance management solution does all of this and more. Learn more about how NetPerform can help you get the most out of your company’s employee reviews.