Employee reviews are a crucial step in shaping competent, high-performing workers. When deadlines arise and employees are stretched thin, however, performance reviews are often the first thing to fall by the wayside. By building them into your company's workflow and schedule, you can ensure that reviews happen regularly.
In many companies, employee reviews are conducted once or twice each year. For human resources professionals, a long review cycle creates a significant amount of pressure. After six months, it can be difficult to remember the details of an employee's performance—let alone multiple employees. The same holds true for employees, who may not be able to absorb feedback about projects that happened months ago. In this case, you and your employees may find performance reviews to be uncomfortable and unhelpful.
One of the easiest ways to ensure that employee reviews happen is to shorten the cycle time. Choose a more regular schedule: once a month or once per quarter, for example. According to the Harvard Business Review, a quick weekly meeting can serve as powerful goal motivation. You'll have fewer details to remember and employees will be able to put your feedback into action immediately. In addition, since the reviews cover fewer weeks, they'll be shorter and less painful.
For staff members, employee reviews are often a terrifying prospect. As a human resources professional, you can take some of the pain out of the process and help it proceed more smoothly. Instead of focusing on negative feedback, add a positive component. Praise your employees for their excellent work, tell them how they contribute to the team dynamic and point out the special skills and abilities that they bring to the table. In doing so, you'll reinforce positive behavior and build a more confident team. Further, when employees can look forward to reviews, they are less likely to avoid them.
One of the biggest enemies of a regular review process is a lack of structure. Without a plan and a format, it is too easy to let employee reviews slide. To make it easier, develop a form that suits your company. Include basic questions that tackle areas for improvement, successes and goals moving forward. Add a space to note the progress on the goals from the last review. The more specific your form, the easier it will be to use; reviewers can cross off unnecessary items as needed. Add the form to your collection of human resources documents so it is readily available to managers.
When you take the time to plan, employee reviews will be less painful and more likely to happen on schedule. As an added bonus, you'll build a stronger, more effective team that will support and develop your business.
(Photo courtesy of stockimages / freedigitalphotos.net)