The importance of regular and effective employee reviews

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Have you ever had a review that was rushed, without meaning, clear purpose and outcome?
Maybe it was also ‘pre-scripted’ without much room for discussion or dialog?

Additionally, have performance reviews always been one a year, or at most twice?

As a manager, alongside the regular yearly review, it’s essential to keep communication strong and keep everyone on the same page and aligned to company, team and individual targets. The review process purpose should be to develop, reward, and retain employees.

The best way is to book ‘check in’ reviews to discuss what’s been achieved to date, any concerns or guidance needed to fulfill the remaining objectives. Open communication makes life easier for all.

When an employee receives feedback, they can see what’s expected of them and where they are in meeting those expectations. Reviews highlight to employees that their contributions are valued and the manager appreciates the importance of them.

We all know that often in business, priorities do change so rather than have any nasty surprises lurking in the background and assumptions being made of what everyone is working on or delivering needs to be clearly visualised.

However, these additional ‘check in’s should be relevant, structured and relatively brief. You don’t want the employee to feel you don’t trust them or have trouble delegating, so the message and purpose of the meeting needs to be clear from the outset.

Ideally, creating a review opportunity framework described above should become a cultural norm and as long as the reviews are held on time and not seen as a burden, this can create improved communication and openness in the working environment.

As a manager, to utilise these meetings and to assist with the yearly review you may wish to keep an employee/project/objective tracking record that captures the status of the work and projects for your team.
Updating this regularly and reviewing before a meeting can assist in getting a view of the bigger picture and quantify contribution.

These records can also be useful to employees as it’s a precise, clear log of work undertaken and can also be useful to remove the situation of a manager not being seen as objective or fair, as the review is based on accomplishments, current work and planned work.

So how do both the manager and employee get the most out of the review meetings?
It’s not surprising the best meetings all come down to preparation.

Often a manager will have a viewpoint of the employee’s performance, but have you considered the employee’s own perception of their performance?

It’s increasingly common to have an employee self evaluate their performance and submit that to their manager prior to the meeting.

These self evaluations support the employee to view their past performance and employees who have gone through this would already have been self critical, looked at other solutions and are less likely to take any negative comments personally at their review.

These also allow the manager to see how aligned they both are and often management perception is a strong trait in performance reviews which is hard to corroborate, unless you are aware of the employee’s own viewpoint, issues and self evaluation.

Regular and frequent reviews can also save costs. It’s much easier to keep and develop an existing employee than to spend time and resources hiring a replacement!

Scott Maddy MCIPD

HR gone Mad

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