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By Mike Detmer January 13,2014
|Mike Detmer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
is the principal of Detmer Business Solutions,
which provides companies in the systems
integration space with easy-to-use business
knowhow modules that enable functional
managers to better execute key duties.
With the holidays just around the corner
and my family spread from Florida to
California I decided to send everyone
personalized gift boxes. For my sons, who
enjoy cooking, I sent spices, sauces, and
a homemade cookbook detailing some
family recipes that I know they love. After
desktop publishing the cookbook, I loaded
the file onto a jump drive and headed off
to my local office supply store, a national
chain, to be printed and bound.
Not hard stuff, or so I thought. That
was until I stood in line for 25 minutes
behind only one customer while three
clerks stood around idly unable to help
me. When I asked why the delay, a clerk
told me that only one of three computers
in the store was able to read a jump
drive. That seemed unacceptable to me
considering that there was a sign on the counter that said, “We Service
Computers.” Because this was the second time I’ve experienced slow
service, I confronted the manager with the situation, and he told me, in a
dismissive tone, that he’s been working on it for three weeks.
At that moment the senior executive in me came out, and I wondered
who managed this dimwit. Working on something and getting something
accomplished are two different things. But frequently, employees and
their managers feel that working on
something regardless of the output
they are producing is doing their jobs.
This is a false notion.
Examples like my experience point
to why it’s so important for companies
to conduct employee performance
reviews, regardless of how large
or small they are. Performance
reviews are a valuable management
tool for both the employer and the
employee. They provide a forum for
employees to present their obstacles
to accomplishment and for managers
to provide valuable coaching that
will steer employee activities toward
achieving the company’s desired
If you didn’t conduct employee performance reviews in 2013, start
2014 off right and review every employee’s performance using these
Prepare your employees: You can do this by asking your employees
to each complete a “self-assessment” of their past performance. If you
need an example of what a self-assessment looks like, you can download
one from the Microsoft Office Templates page and then modify it to best
suit your needs.
Prepare yourself: While the reviews should only last an hour or so,
you should invest the time to think through what you want to tell each
employee about their individual strengths and shortcomings and how
you expect them to focus and improve going forward. To help, have a
script to refer to regarding past performance, company expectations, and
individual performance expectations.
Prepare the environment: Conduct the reviews in a space that is
conducive to a discussion and where you and your employee can feel
comfortable. That way the meeting takes on a persona of being important,
yet personally tailored to him/her. I suggest a quiet area with a small table
that you can sit around. Not your office or a room with a large desk or
table separating you.
Begin with an agenda: Point out the few areas to be covered in the
review session. They can be as simple as a) employee’s past performance,
b) employee’s current performance, c) goals and objectives the employee
is charged with in the upcoming year, and how these goals tie back to the
overall company’s goals, d) employee’s personal development path, that is
the things they can do that they will benefit from.
Set an open tone: Encourage open and honest communications and
give them that in return. Talk about what you believe the employee’s
strengths and shortcomings have been and make suggestions for
improvements. Be assertive in that you are giving the review based on
your observations, but also encourage employee feedback to understand
what they think as well.
|Performance reviews provide a forum for employees to present their obstacles to
accomplishment and for managers to provide valuable coaching that will steer employee
activities toward achieving the company’s desired goals.
Give praise and criticism where due: With cost cutting procedures,
giving employee rewards with praise can go a long way. But be sure to point
out shortcomings and provide advice on how to mend any performance
gaps or attitudinal adjustments required. Make note of these areas for future
discussions should they be necessary.
Don’t tie performance reviews to pay increases: While it’s OK to
consider the outcome in a performance
review when contemplating merit
raises or bonuses, keep the review
strictly about performance. Just the
facts Ma’am, is the best route to take.
If asked about merit increases, explain
that they are handled separately,
and this review is strictly about the
Synergize in conclusion: During
the review, be sure that you and your
employee are on the same page. After
each section, be sure to ask if your
employee understands and agrees
with your direction for the future.
This way both of you have a common
understanding and a springboard to
work from going forward.