Prioritize Performance Reviews

09:35AM Oct 30, 2018
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Do you consider your employees valuable assets that contribute to your bottom line? If you haven’t before, start now, says Josh Bersin, a human resources industry analyst.

“We have to remember that people are what we call an ‘appreciating asset,’” Bersin says. “The longer we stay with an organization the more productive we get—we learn the systems, we learn the products and we learn how to work together.”

To reduce employee turnover and increase job satisfaction, create structured and effective performance reviews for all team members. This is not the stale model of a once-a-year task that creates stress for both sides of the conversation. Instead, you want more frequent reviews and regular feedback, says Jack Altman, CEO and co-founder of Lattice, which provides performance management software. 

“Without any structure, a lot of employees didn’t know how to talk about career development, get raises or promotions,” he says.

Start with your goals for your performance reviews, Altman suggests. Are you trying to evaluate employees so you can make compensation and promotion decisions? Are you trying to make managers give feedback more often? 

Once you know the purpose, you can best organize these meetings. Consider meeting with each employee twice. 

“Tie one of your performance review cycles per year to compensation,” Altman says. “Everyone should know this is coming so they don’t have to ask you about raises throughout the year. This review cycle should have some form of ratings or designations, so you can have a quantitative basis to compare performance.”

The other meeting benefits the employee. “It’s an opportunity for employees to receive and give feedback with nothing on the line,” Altman explains. 

Guide the conversation during these meetings with questions. But, also allow employees to share what’s on their minds, Altman says. 

Constructive Feedback. One of the keys to maximizing performance reviews is to create an environment of open communication and trust. 

“You want to make feedback your friend,” says Cassie Whitlock, director of human resources at BambooHR, which provides human resources software. “The willingness to offer critical feedback—after 
you establish you care about that person—will be well-received.”  

3 Topics to Discuss with Employees

Supportive managers and consistent feedback drive employee happiness says Jack Altman, CEO of the people management firm Lattice. Schedule one-on-one discussions with the employees who report directly to you to gauge their job satisfaction, challenges and professional goals. During these meetings, Altman suggests covering these topics: 

  • WINS: Emphasize how your employees’ efforts make an impact on the operation’s mission and vision. What professional victories have your employees achieved?
  • PRIORITIZATION: Find out what is at the top of your employee’s to-do list. Discuss what tasks are the best uses of their time.  
  • ROADBLOCKS: What is making your employees’ jobs difficult? Allocate the needed resources to help employees accomplish their priorities. 

Are you a bad boss? Read the top 10 bad boss behaviors per a BambooHR survey of more than 1,000 employees.


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