Valuable Performance Reviews

Years ago when I used to train managers how to complete and conduct performance reviews, I used to encourage managers to realize the impact of this process.  The form they were completing and the conversation they would have with an employee is a vital part of what motivates an employee to perform or decide to quit.

While some managers make the performance review process some kind of Algebra equation, that multiples and divides a series of equations by performance objective and ultimately pops out a rating, others look at factors that are not as black and white, but can make the difference in how an employee reacts.

In some performance reviews it is a numbers game.  You as a manager may be forced to rate particular objectives in a very straight forward way and the results will be the same no matter who is rating the performance.  Yet if this is how performance reviews are managed from the top of the form to the bottom, then why not just leave the process to the computer to spit out?

Performance reviews are an opportunity to share with an employee the perceived results of an employees performance in key areas, and the overall impact this employee has on the unit and company.  While sometimes compensation is tied to employee performance ratings, in today’s economy we are not normally talking about sweeping dollar extremes if we rate on the lower side to save a few dollars.

I used to encourage managers to read the finished review as if they were the receiver of the news.  Then ask yourself if you were this employee, would you agree with the results?  Assuming you agree with the results, is the rating appropriate?

I’ve seen countless times where a manager has used a rating of say “Met” with someone who has pulled out all the stops but came in just under a mathematical “Exceeds” rating.  Granted the rating is technically valid, but the manager just shot a hole in the employees ship.  Overtime that hole fills with dissatisfaction over their perceived value, and the employee either performs less the next time, or quits to work for the competition.

Imagine that an entire unit comes in at a “Did Not Meet” rating by that macro decimal point.  What does this do to the overall moral?  What would have been the difference if everyone was rated a “Met” even though technically they missed the mark?  Would they not strive to live up to expectations going forward?

My point is that it takes very little effort to rate someone a little higher than they may have technically earned, and the results can be so much more valuable for everyone.


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