Posts Tagged ‘Performance Reviews’

Rethinking Employee Annual Performance Reviews

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

thumbs-up-or-downAnnual performance reviews can make everyone cranky—most employers don’t enjoy writing them, and employees would probably vote them off the island if they could. Still, many businesses use them as their sole means of communicating to their staffs.

One problem with once-a-year reviews is that the time between an employee’s offense and the manager’s opportunity to address it could simply be too long. That’s why police officers don’t wait until October to issue a ticket for speeding in July!

Immediacy has its advantages. Instead of making a note to add an employee’s offense to their annual review, try offering guidance when they make the error. If your company’s annual reviews consist of a laundry list of missteps and mistakes, it’s no wonder that the staff dreads them.

Some employers encourage employees to “rate the rater,” or evaluate their supervisors, during annual performance reviews. This practice is not likely to produce honest, workable results. Employees who receive high marks in their evaluation are not likely to bite the proverbial hand that feeds them. And pent-up frustrations are more likely to fly after a less-than-favorable review.

It is more productive for managers and bosses to check in regularly with their staffs. Encourage honest feedback by asking what they need, how you are doing as a supervisor, and what you can do differently.

After all, your employees are thinking about the answers to these questions, whether or not they are ever asked. And they are likely discussing their feelings with fellow staff members. Wouldn’t you rather hear about their ideas and suggestions directly?

These are a few ways annual reviews can be counter-productive. Consider giving your employees regular opportunities to offer feedback, and don’t wait until that magic yearly review to praise them for doing a job well—or to correct their mistakes.

Consistent communication is one key to productive, happy employees—and it’s more productive than the annual review that so many employees and employers dread!