Employee performance reviews can often feel mundane or like a rehash of the previous year’s format. But they shouldn’t. A good performance review should not only identify and resolve employees’ weak points, but it should also motivate them to grow by laying out clearly defined objectives for the next quarter or year. If your performance review process doesn’t do this, you may have missed the point entirely. Download the ebook, “The Skeptics Guide to Performance Management“ and get started on improving your performance management process.
Providing employees with achievable goals is key to pushing them to work smarter, harder, and more efficiently. If you’re not sure what that looks like, it’s ok. We’re going to dive into the core purposes of a performance review and go step-by-step through some goals that would help to fulfill that purpose. Setting these goals will benefit not only your bottom line but the whole work atmosphere.
The Purpose of a Performance Evaluation
First and foremost, performance evaluations are a chance to collaborate with the employee and help them grow and develop into a better, more productive worker. This is the time and place to lay out not only where they need improvement but also the areas where they have succeeded. Working together, you can come up with mutual goals and lay out how they can be met in the coming months or years.
This collaborative, synergistic approach to performance evaluations motivates workers and takes some of the sting out of a bad review. Rather than looking at it as a time to nitpick, go into performance reviews with a motivating attitude. Present solutions to problems in the shape of an expectation. Defining clear expectations shows the employee in which direction they need to grow.
As employees grow, so too does the organization. Be sure to jot down in detail exactly what you expect of an employee but also what their own goals are within the business. If an employee expresses that they wish to obtain an MBA or move into management, providing that employee with the resources to do so will only help in the long run. Documenting these goals also acts as legal evidence that you are involved in your employee’s career. It shows that you have encouraged and pushed the employee to better themselves. This is vital evidence in the case of a possibly disgruntled employee filing for discrimination claims.
Goals of a Performance Evaluation
With those purposes in mind, understand that all goals set forth in a performance review should be specific and relevant to the overall objective of your business. They should also be measurable and achievable in a timely manner. So, with that in mind, consider some of the following goals:
The whole purpose of a business is to be productive. The more productive a business is, the better the business. Therefore, it’s absolutely essential to make productivity a main goal for employees.
Example: Measure productivity by the number of clients served in a store. Set a clear expectation such as “Help 10 customers a week make a purchase”.
Working more doesn’t necessarily mean making more, though. For productivity to be beneficial, it has to be done quickly but also in a quality manner. Simply making more sales means nothing if the customer leaves unsatisfied with their purchase or experience. Output should be expedient but also top notch.
Example: Ship out 100 cartons of eggs a day, with only 5% lost to damage and human error
Smarter and better trained employees make for a smarter and better trained business. Yet, offering and encouraging employees to further their education will not only benefit the business but also the overall corporate atmosphere. Employees like to know that they’re being taken care of and you should work these into their performance review goals.
Example: Michelle wants to work her way into upper management but needs an MBA before she qualifies for the position. Work together with Michelle to make an MBA one of her educational goals over the next few years.
Business is selling and selling is talking. Motivating employees to improve their interpersonal skills will boost productivity and customer satisfaction.
Example: Keep track of who plays an active role in meetings and push the quiet employees to speak up more. It’s their workplace too and their opinions matter in how things are run. Encouraging them to join in will translate into better overall interpersonal skills.
Identify and Develop Leaders
Employees seeking to take on leadership roles will stand out and be ready to take on more responsibilities. If you have identified an employee as potential new talent, make it a goal of their performance review to take on more of an active role in the company.
Example: Marques has shown a lot of promise and you think he’s ready to move up. Make it a goal for him to write up the agenda and keep minutes of the weekly meeting. Afterwards, he should then print and pass out the minutes, positioning him as closer to management.
On the other hand, some employees need a little more motivation to do the things expected of them. If punctuality, tardiness, or attendance are an issue with an employee, it’s crucial to set out clearly defined expectations for what they should do to improve.
Example: Come to work prepared and on time everyday unless previous discussed with the manager. If there are extenuating circumstances, management can work mutually to come up with a solution to the problem.
Set Clear Deadlines
Punctuality is not the only possible point of contention with the clock. Employees need clear deadlines so that they know exactly when a client needs their work. Time management can be learned and working together with a manager is a great way to learn it.
Example: Have an employee who struggles to meet deadlines work together with a manager while they make the schedule. This way, the employee has a clear understanding of when work is due.
Performance reviews should be more than a tool to find weaknesses; they should be a tool to help employees better themselves. Setting clear goals with expectations is the only sure-fire way to guarantee that employees leave their performance reviews motivated and ready to take the next steps in the company. To make the most of your business’s performance review process, consider implementing these goals into your model.