03/14/15 By Jennifer Brown

Performance-Review-1Performance reviews can be a successful tool linked to improved performance and high morale. In addition, they can strengthen the employee-manager relationship…when done well. If you are conducting performance reviews just for the sake of it or only to create documentation for staffing decisions, then you might as well scrap your review process. Without the right intentions and preparation, a performance review can bring little benefit and lots of frustration. Do you know if your review process is truly working for you? If you say ‘yes’ to any of the 5 following statements, it may be time to re-evaluate your performance review process:

Your review focuses on the negative
When completing a performance review, some managers tend to focus only on what the employee has done wrong. Although a primary purpose of the review is to identify areas in need of improvement, you should address ALL behavior and results. Remember to highlight her achievements. Don’t get caught up in trying to find something to ‘fix’. Instead, focus on how to help her develop and add value to the organization.

Your review focuses on process…not progress
If the review is seen as just another process you have to muddle through, it is time to make a change. As a manager, ask yourself “What does my employee want to get out of the review? What do I want to get out of it?” Generally, employees want to know how their performance measures up to expectations, how they are progressing on their chosen career path, and what may be on the horizon for them professionally.

Your review is one-sided
As a manager, if you find yourself doing all of the talking during the review meeting, then you’re doing it wrong. The review meeting should be a conversation between you and your employee. Encourage your employee to share insight on her past performance as well as goals for the upcoming year. When the review is a collaborative effort, the rewards are greater for everyone.

You SAY that pay raises are tied to performance…when they are not
If you use the performance review to justify not giving a pay raise, you’re doing the employee a disservice. The reality is that pay is not always linked to performance. Many outside factors impact an organization’s ability to provide pay increases (company profits, executive decisions on financial allocations, etc.). If you have a solid performer who deserves a pay raise, but instead you pick apart her performance to create a justification for not giving an adequate pay increase, your employee will not trust the process or you. It undermines the primary purpose of the review process by shifting the focus to money and most likely will have the employee looking elsewhere for opportunity. Don’t bring money up in the review meeting. When it is time to talk about compensation, be honest about why a pay increase is at the level it is.

Your review process only focuses on the past, not the future
If your employee receives a positive review, don’t give the impression that they have reached the end of the line by meeting or even exceeding expectations. Continue to raise the bar. Allot time to discuss goals for the upcoming year as well as long-term growth opportunities. The review meeting is the best time to focus on the future while performance is fresh on everyone’s mind.

When you put time and effort into creating a mutually rewarding experience for both you and the employee, you will see great benefits all around.