Improve performance reviews by using a 7 step-by-step guide to effectively plan and conduct reviews

Improve performance reviews, by using a 7 step-by-step

Are you wanting to improve your businesses performance reviews? Here’s everything you need to know.

Employee’s performances can impact how a business reaches their goals and objectives; this applies to all industries. In order to understand if a particular employee is over or under performing, setting realistic goals is critical, which can be done through SMART objectives. However, remote working has made this difficult as employers/managers have to strategically set SMART objectives for employees, they may never have met face to face.

Performance reviews form a critical part of employee satisfaction, giving them time and space to discuss any issues they are experiencing, and their ideal career progression.  Performance reviews also help in identifying gaps between business goals and employee objectives, indicating where support might be required for learning and development.

What is a performance review and why is it important?

A performance review is a formal process of providing feedback on an employee’s performance; evaluating the employee strengthens and weaknesses. Managers should be providing constructive and clear guidance on where the employee needs to improve, helping them achieve objectives.

During performance reviews, all parties should be working together to produce SMART objectives, potentially broken down into 3/6/12 months.  This process can identify what skills the employee is missing or lacking, thus, where training is required pinpointing the importance of performance reviews.

Another important aspect of performance reviews is ensuring they are well-planned and well implemented, as when correctly done employee engagement strengthens. 

Frequent reviews help set the tone of your company’s culture, showing you have a strong stance on career progression. In the current candidate-led market this can be deemed as an attractive benefit for talented candidates through providing clear learning and development opportunities.

How to structure performance reviews

The structure of performance reviews begins long before the formal meeting, managers must ask the employee to evaluate themselves against their key responsibilities, their characteristics and other performance indicators including accuracy, time management and attendance at work. Employees rate themselves from 1-4, this can help employees understand their performance better and identify areas themselves where improvement is required.

Performance review ratings:

  1. Outstanding
  2. Exceeded expectations
  3. Acceptable
  4. Marginal

Key responsibilities should be listed out in a table with comments on their performance provided and the 1-4 rating in the third box, below is an example layout for guidance on performance review documentation.

Key TasksComments on PerformanceRatings Summary (1   2    3    4)

The second element employees need to analysis is the skills related to their performance, these skills should be provided to the employee to comment on.

The skills can include:

  1. Application of policies and procedures
  2. Efficiency in planning and organising work
  3. Effectiveness in problem solving
  4. Ability to gain the co-operation of colleagues
  5. Effectiveness in developing subordinates
  6. Knowledge of job requirements
  7. Level of job skill attained
  8. Level of job knowledge attained
  9. Efficient use of equipment/materials
  10. Adherence to safe working practices

Finally, characteristics and attitude towards work must be evaluated during reviews, consideration can be given to certain aspects, such as:

  1. Attitude to work
  2. Attitude to colleagues
  3. Attitude to supervision
  4. Compliance with company rules
  5. Undertaking overtime or additional duties
  6. Attendance and time keeping record

Both skills and characteristics should be laid out in the same format as the table above, helping to structure the document for ease of the evaluation.  The comments and rating will form the conversation during the review. Employees must be given sufficient time to complete all sections prior to the performance review meeting.

Asking for reviews from clients and co-workers helps to gather an all-round picture of the employee’s performance. The reviews should not be top of mind insights from the manager themselves, due to this being bias and limited, especially if the manager and employee have a low working relationship. Performance reviews are more productive and beneficial if based on factual information and data.

TOP TIP: Internal recording systems for time recording are a great way for measuring staff productivity.

When it comes to formal meeting, managers should allow for a two-way conversation beginning with an assessment of performance against key responsibilities, establishing if co-workers, customers, and managers reviews match the employee’s perspective.

Looking back at previous appraisals is essential in evaluating the employee’s growth including how much training they have received and how they are meeting their goals, comparing to 3/6/12 months ago.

Forward planning of key tasks and targets, helps the employee to have clear job progression, especially if they are looking for a promotion. Setting of goals can motivate employees to be more productive and engaged.

Future training and development alongside an action plan should be agreed before the performance review ends, giving a clear picture for both the appraiser and appraisee moving forward, as well as, for measuring performance growth in the next review.  

Both the appraiser and appraisee should make comments within the document as to how they felt the review went and signing the document in agreement for next steps. Reviews should be kept professional from both parties; these should not become personal or bitter as this could impact the working-relationship in a negative manner.

Why conduct performance reviews?

  1. Learning and development
  2. Administrative/HR processes
  3. Gain feedback on company culture
  4. Aid informed decision making on employee pay and promotions

Step-by-step guide for reviewing employee’s performance

  1. Review and set the employee’s performance objectives and goals
  2. Feedback should be given on a regular basis
  3. Manage performance issues quickly and clearly
  4. Update documentation regularly
  5. Liaison with other employees and clients for reviews on the employee
  6. Encouraging the employee to fill out documentation to review their own performance and skills
  7. Managers should analyse employees work helping to provide examples of good or poor performance.

How we can help

Our HR consultants can support your business with performance reviews, including provision of documentation to use during the appraisal, support in gathering information and if required join the formal meeting via zoom helping to conduct the process.

Contact us today for guidance on conducting performance reviews.

Call us: 0800 111 4461

Email us: [email protected]

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