PERFORMANCE REVIEWS—when executed well—can be powerful tools for enhancing employee productivity and driving retention.
“Performance reviews are used to assess an employee’s progress towards clear and specific expectations,” says Patricia Graves, HR knowledge adviser with the Alexandria, Va.-based Society for Human Resource Management. “Managers should highlight performance indicators and achievements with an employee and provide objective feedback, as well as provide specific examples to communicate employees’ strengths [and] weaknesses.”
Reviews not only benefit the employee, however, “but also their team, the organization, and its clients,” says MSP business and channel growth expert Erick Simpson, of ErickSimpson.com.
Regular reviews provide opportunities for constructive feedback and to elicit understanding and agreement between employees and their managers around shared goals and mutual benefit, says Simpson, adding that they ought to include “how leadership will help the employee reach these goals through training, coaching, and incentives.”
Put performance reviews in writing, advises Graves. Look for a review template, adds Simpson, that “allows objective scoring in performance-related categories that allow easy measurement and trending—think a scale of 1 to 5.”
Having both the manager and employee fill out review forms and then compare and discuss the results helps too, according to Simpson. “This makes for a much more collaborative session,” he explains, “and reinforces the coaching and mentorship approach to performance reviews.”
Along with assessing performance, Simpson recommends using the time to discuss what the employee likes and dislikes about their role and any feedback he or she may have regarding how to improve staff morale and client satisfaction to reach the company’s business objectives.
It’s also a good time to explore potential growth opportunities within the company, he adds. Using analytical tools such as DiSC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness) behavioral profiling can help uncover what motivates an employee to perform well.
All these elements work together, he says, to help ensure that the employee “feels a valued, connected part of the organization, whose ideas, thoughts, and feedback are vitally important to the company’s success.”
To get the most out of a performance review, avoid making it “too one-sided, with leadership dictating their perception of performance, rather than having an open, constructive conversation with the employee to build trust and partnership in helping them improve and succeed,” Simpson stresses.
Also, don’t delegate reviews to someone who is not the employee’s direct manager, Simpson says. “This is a mistake, as it fails to give the employee the sense of value, trust, and confidence necessary to achieve the desired outcome from these sessions.”
How often should channel pros conduct performance reviews? Simpson favors a quarterly schedule. That way, “they foster more coaching and mentorship in real time to help employees course-correct more quickly to help meet performance goals.”