MANAGEMENT: Effective Performance Reviews

Regularly providing employees with feedback through performance reviews can be an effective way to motivate workers and help them improve. Here are some tips for making those reviews effective:
• Performance reviews are discussions about how someone is doing, not necessarily what they are being paid. Treat reviews as regular, ongoing conversations with employees rather than just an annual discussion about wages.
• Use objective numbers whenever you can. Discuss the number of flat rate hours they are completing, how the shop’s customer satisfaction numbers or profitability compares for the jobs they are involved with, how many files they are handling, etc.
• The goal shouldn’t be only to tell employees what they are doing wrong. Help motivate them by showing you recognize their strengths as well. Consider asking them to rate their own performance and to comment on areas where they see a need for improvement in themselves.
• Give them a chance to talk about any questions or concerns or goals they have. Some questions you can ask: Do you feel you are treated fairly? How could shop management improve? What suggestions do you have to make this a better place for all to work?
• Don’t save things up for the reviews. Praise or reprimands still need to happen immediately. Those incidents can be things you discuss again in the reviews, but don’t put off giving that necessary feedback to employees immediately.
• Criticize effectively, by focusing on specific behavior, not “character” or “attitude,” which are more apt to make someone feel attacked. Don’t exaggerate or threaten. Offer them some direction or ask how you can help them improve. Let them know you are confident in their ability to improve. Set a deadline when appropriate.
• Listen, not just talk. It’s a good chance to get ideas from employees, and to find out what’s working – and what’s not – at your business.