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10 Secrets to an Effective Performance Review


EffectivePerformanceReviews_whitebg-210 Secrets to an Effective Performance Review: Examples and tips on employee performance evaluation, writing employee reviews, a sample performance review and employee evaluation forms shows you how to conduct positive, valuable assessments that lead to maximizing staff performance and helping your employees achieve their professional goals and your organization’s objectives.

Use Business Management Daily’s practical advice for writing employee reviews and conducting performance evaluations. Don’t forget to reference our sample performance review and employee evaluation forms for your own staff assessments.
Discover the 10 secrets below…

Performance Review Examples and Tips: #1
Use performance logs to simplify writing employee reviews

If you’re relying solely on your memory when writing employee reviews, you’re making employee performance evaluation far more difficult than necessary. That’s why it’s best to institute a simple recording system to document employee performance before writing employee reviews.

The most useful, easy-to-implement way is to create and maintain a log for each employee. Performance logs don’t need to be complicated or sophisticated. They can simply be paper files in a folder or computer files.

Performance Review Examples and Tips: #2
How to conduct a positive, valuable employee performance evaluation

Sitting down to conduct an employee performance evaluation with a staff member is the part of the appraisal process most managers dread. But the session doesn’t  have to be tense or uncomfortable.

When conducting an employee performance evaluation, start by discussing any problems you’ve observed with the employee’s performance. Address each problem individually and don’t bring up a new problem until you’ve thoroughly discussed the current one. Use the following framework to discuss each problem:

• Describe the performance problem.
• Reinforce performance standards.
• Develop a plan for improvement.
• Offer your help.
• Alternate negative and positive comments.
• Emphasize potential.

Performance Review Examples and Tips: #3
Turning a negative into a positive: 4 examples

During performance reviews, use clear, nonjudgmental language that focuses on results and behavior. Notice the positive and negative aspects of these statements:

• “Your work has been sloppy lately.” (Negative: too vague)
• “Your last three reports contained an unacceptable number of statistical errors.” (Positive: cites specifics)

• “You’re obviously not a mathematician.” (Negative: focuses on the person, not on performance)
• “I know you’re capable of producing more accurate work.” (Positive: reaffirms confidence in employee’s abilities)

• “Don’t let it happen again.” (Negative: blanket demands)
• “How can we prevent errors from creeping into reports?” (Positive: asks for feedback on improving performance)

Performance Review Examples and Tips: #4
How to measure an employee’s ‘intangible’ traits

When writing employee reviews, supervisors are typically called upon to evaluate employees on the basis of intangible factors, such as cooperativeness, dependability and judgment. The higher up the organizational chart, the more important those traits become. Yet most supervisors find intangibles the most difficult factors to evaluate, probably because they seem so personal.

Business Management Daily recommends managers follow two guidelines when addressing intangible traits in an employee performance evaluation:

1. Match traits to the job.
2. Match traits to behavior.

You can’t help being subjective when evaluating intangible factors. But you can avoid bias by focusing on concrete examples of instances in which the employee displayed positive or negative behavior regarding a particular trait.

Performance Review Examples and Tips: #5
Avoid phrases in the employee performance evaluation that can sabotage job-review meetings

When you discuss an employee performance evaluation, beware of using common phrases that can unintentionally communicate the wrong message, or come across as too negative or personal.

Certain phrases can kill employee morale, weaken productivity or open up the organization to a discrimination lawsuit.

Your goal in writing performance reviews is to help shape employees’ performance without becoming sidetracked by anger, emotion or fear of conflict. To do so, Business Management Daily has identified some surefire phrases to avoid when explaining an employee performance evaluation.
Performance Review Examples and Tips: #6
4 steps to help employees reach their peak performance

It sounds so easy: Expect high performance and you won’t be disappointed. Expect so-so performance and that’s what you’ll get. But reality is more difficult.

To help your employees maximize their productivity, use these three practices when writing performance reviews to help define what you mean by “high performance” and lay out how you expect your people to attain it:

1. Involve them in setting goals. Never assume you’ve got buy-in. Rather than blindly dropping project goals, individual goals or the organization’s goals onto workers, approach them with the thought, “What do you think you can achieve?” Then negotiate your expectations.

2. Keep the goals realistic. Any goal—whether it’s at work, at home or on the athletic field—needs to be difficult, desirable and doable. Setting goals too high will only deflate the worker; setting them too low will erase the challenge of work, which will turn off the person in its own way.

3. Avoid micromanaging. You may want to lay out every detail of how employees should achieve those goals, but resist the temptation. If you spend most of your managing time telling employees how to do their work, rather than trusting them to reach the clear goals you’ve set, you’re treading into micromanagement waters.

Performance Review Examples and Tips: #7
5 warning signs in an employee performance evaluation

Job reviews shouldn’t be paper-moving programs that return zero value. Joan Rennekamp, HR pro at the Denver law firm of Rothgerber, Johnson & Lyons, identifies five symptoms that warn of trouble in a supervisor’s appraisal process.

Performance Review Examples and Tips: #8
Writing employee reviews: Steer clear of two common errors

Say you manage a 55-year-old employee whose productivity drops over the year. Instead of citing specific, measurable examples of this decline in his employee performance evaluation, you note, “Kevin doesn’t seem to have the energy level anymore to truly succeed in this department.” Still, you rate Kevin’s work as “average,” the same as last year.

That example highlights two of the more common—and legally dangerous—pitfalls in writing employee reviews:

1. Evaluation of attitude, not performance. Vague statements that attack an employee’s demeanor could be interpreted as some kind of illegal age, race, gender or disability discrimination. Instead, supervisors should use concrete, job-based examples to illustrate any criticism.

Never use the word “attitude” when writing employee reviews. Employment lawyers and courts often see that as a code word for discrimination.

2. Evaluation inflation. Supervisors too often rate mediocre employees as competent; competent employees as above average; and above-average employees as superior. The problem comes when an employee is fired for poor performance, yet his history of reviews tells a different story. The employee then has a supposed proof that the real reason for the firing was something else, maybe something illegal.

To determine if you inflate reviews, ask yourself the following questions: Who are my worst performers? Knowing what I know about them, would I hire them again? Do their reviews reflect their true performance?

Performance Review Examples and Tips: #9
Incorporating an employee self-review

Writing employee reviews is always a daunting task for supervisors, for many legitimate reasons: Judging others’ work often appears exceptionally perception-driven (vs. fact-driven), and providing honest feedback is potentially confrontational. Plus, if you overinflate grades, you create a record that may not withstand legal scrutiny if you later want to terminate or discipline the employee.

In reality, it doesn’t need to be that way. One simple way to reinvent the employee performance evaluation is to shift the responsibility for the initial assessment back to your employees, says Paul Falcone, an HR executive and best-selling author.

If you ask workers to grade themselves, you’ll find (more than likely) that they’re harder on themselves than you’d ever be! And this, more than any other exercise throughout the year, may place you and your supervisors in the roles of career mentors and coaches rather than unilateral decision-makers and disciplinarians.

Performance Review Examples and Tips: #10
Sample performance review
Don’t forget to reference our sample performance review while you’re writing employee reviews for your staff.

July 31, 2015 |

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