Performance Reviews: How to run them effectively

With the end of the year drawing to a close, organisation’s performance review period is fast approaching, a very important tool to keep your workforce encouraged and engaged.

This systematic and periodic process that assesses an individual employee’s job performance and productivity in relation to certain pre-established criteria is vital. “What isn't talked about is how critical it is to do them right. A performance review system helps an organisation analyse employee performance, adjust remuneration where necessary, identify potential leadership candidates and determine where further training is needed”, explains Neville De Lucia, New Business Development Director at Dale Carnegie Training. If these performance reviews are nothing but a tick-box exercise, you could be wasting a valuable opportunity.

When the correct approach is taken, performance reviews can be an excellent opportunity to reinforce solid performers and redirect poor ones.

Dale Carnegie provides six key tips on how to run an effective performance review within your organisation. Following these six steps can help your team members feel more valued and more involved which results in an improvement of attitude, motivation and productivity.

Step 1: Clearly describe performance goals and standards and make them “SMART”

Performance reviews should start with “Performance Results Descriptions”; this provides the employee with a picture of what a job well done looks like, along with a result measurement system that shows good or bad performance. “SMART” means goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Result-oriented and Time-phased.

Step 2: Align employee’s goals with the organisation’s vision, mission, and values

An organisation follows its vision, mission, and corporate values. Each position within an organisation has its own goal and reason for its existence. Team members are given specific job duties and tasks that align with this.It is important that the “Key Result Area” is clarified in a performance review, where the employee should accomplish specific results that, when collectively achieved, fulfil the team function.

Step 3: The Appraisal Meeting

Successful managers always find ways to encourage, empower, and engage their employees with the performance appraisal.Managers need to review and explain the performance results description for what it “should be” to the employee and what actions and changes could be implemented. Managers need to communicate their vision for the future growth and development of the individual in order for him or her to move to the next level.

Step 4: Follow Up

Successful managers follow up on the set goals throughout the task’s completion. A positive follow-up process should include:

• Communication and agreement of the performance standards

• Flexibility to change due to current information or change

Step 5: Develop a Recognition and Reward System

A daily recognition system identifies a specific task or job that is being worked on or that has been done well. An informal recognition is spontaneous recognition that has no intended objectives. A formal recognition is a planned recognition based on performance review. There are certain objectives and conditions that should be met in order for recognition to occur, these include:

• Daily recognition: Verbal thank you, pat on the back, email or quick note.

• Informal: Impromptu lunch for the team, tickets to an event or half day off.

• Formal: Award or spot bonuses.

Step 6: Plan to motivate and engage employees with your appraisal

Show your employees the right attitude. Appraisal is a great way to further motivate employees and ignite workplace enthusiasm. During a performance review always stay positive that certain skills and performances are improving.

“As a leader, you should show how to embrace changes and opportunities in a positive way. When you praise, reward, and set a good example, employees become motivated to achieve more and to provide better results”, concludes De Lucia.

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