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5 Tips for Better Performance Reviews

Performance reviews can affect everything from a team member's career path to their chances for a raise, so it’s not surprising if they make your employees nervous. You may be tempted to forgo them altogether. Performance reviews are actually very helpful to you as the manager, your organization as a whole, your individual department, and the employee themself. The key lies in making the meeting work in everyone's favor. The question is, how?

Why Are Performance Reviews So Important?

Before we go further into detail as to how to make performance reviews better for everyone involved, let's take a step back and look at why they're so important in the first place.

Performance reviews are your chance to provide strategic vision, establish organization-wide goals, clarify team objectives, set up expectations, and help your individual employees improve. Employees learn what their key strengths are and where they should focus their development efforts. The performance review also creates space for discussion, allowing you to find out more about the needs and goals of those you supervise. These evaluations can serve as a stopping point to make sure that tough, sometimes uncomfortable feedback is delivered rather than swept under the rug.

They're also a chance for you to ensure your best employees plan on sticking around for a long time. This isn't an interrogation of your team; it's a way to gauge interest and engagement, as well as make sure any grievances about the current work environment are heard.

How to Make Performance Reviews Better for Everyone

It's easy to think of performance reviews as one more thing to add to your already-too-heavy workload. That's understandable, but it's a mistake to treat these meetings as an afterthought or an annoyance. The more you put into this task, the more you and your team will get out of it.

Send Employee Surveys Out First

Remember, this isn't just about how the employee is performing at work, but also how they feel they're doing as well as how they feel about the company in general. Perhaps Kate is your best team member, but feels she isn't valued enough. If you miss this, you'll be sorry to see Kate leave and move on to another job pretty soon. Surveys improve the lines of communication between your teams and make it easy for you to gather feedback.

How do you know who on your team enjoys their job? Is there someone who might not be so in love with it? Can you find the employees who want to do more? Is there anyone who feels there's something better the organization can and should be doing? Employee surveys answer all of these questions, and many more.

If you send these surveys to your team ahead of time, you can come to the performance review prepared to discuss the results and ask any particular follow-up questions. They'll feel more respected that you took the time to find out how they truly feel. You'll feel happier that the surveys were easily sent out using the same employee tracking software you use to create the schedule, track clock-ins and -outs, see their PTO, and more.

Be Prepared, But Not Scripted

This brings us to our next point; you want the performance review to be friendly and conversational but you also want to be prepared. For this reason, it’s important to make a few notes ahead of time and bring relevant examples and talking points to your discussion.

Let's say Larry is a new employee, and isn't quite pulling his weight yet despite the fact that it's been a few months since he joined your team. You want to be ready to have this discussion with him. Don't go overboard; the more free-flowing it is, the better. Make achieving a give-and-take conversation your goal for these reviews, rather than a one-sided presentation.

Come Armed With Data, Not Gut Feelings

The last thing you want is your talk with Larry to turn into an argument. Any criticism that begins with "I feel..." or "I think..." will too often lead to a heated debate. You never want to review an employee based on what you perceive they are or are not doing; you want to grade them on real data, metrics, and analytics. All of this is made possible with employee tracking software.

By leveraging the right engagement tools, you will gain access to a high-level view of employee interactions. This way, you'll know if Larry is dropping more shifts than others. When you can clearly see data on staff attendance, time records, and individual engagement with work, you can come to the meeting armed with numbers and data to back up your review of Larry's performance. There's no need for awkward and intense back-and-forths when you have the numbers to support everything you're saying.

Establish Clear Expectations

If someone doesn't know what's expected of them, it's impossible for them to know whether they're doing their job correctly. Make sure your team members understand their individual responsibilities, as well as how each person contributes to achieving the organization’s goals. Explain the criteria that you will use for performance evaluations so your workers know what they are being scored on and what you expect from them.

Strike a Balance Between Positive and Critical

No one wants to get chewed out by their boss, but some situations are too important to sugarcoat. If there’s a problem with a team member's performance, be direct and specific. Sometimes even the best workers need to receive critical feedback– it doesn't mean they're bad at their job or that you don't like them. Just the same, even those employees with the most room for improvement should be praised for their strengths. Each team member, both Kate and Larry, should receive a mix of what you see them doing that you appreciate and where they could make improvements.

SubItUp's Employee Tracking Software Can Help Your Management Efforts

Team management has never been more simple and straightforward! SubItUp makes it not only possible but easy to finally know what your employees love, who does what best, and where there are opportunities for improvement.

Our employee tracking software aggregates all your employee data, including who adds shifts, drops them, clocks out late, and helps out their teammates– and allows you to visualize it in one dashboard. This gives you the data to celebrate your rock stars, find training opportunities, as well as build better schedules.

The result is an easier day for you, and a more productive employee review for them. When the meeting is more efficient, everyone wins!


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