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Most of us have had the dreaded performance review at least once, including the form to fill out on goals both achieved and desired, room for improvement and The Discussion of it all. This usually happens once a year and often makes for a prolonged, sometimes awkward conversation that each side silently feels grateful they only have once a year. Fortunately, there’s a better, more productive way to approach the employee review by focusing on ongoing development instead.

  • Make reviews part of an ongoing conversation. Rather than adhering to the traditional once-a-year conversation, or even a biannual get-together, opt instead for making it a recurring situation where you meet formally quarterly, but check in more often in an informal setting, even if it’s stopping by an employee’s desk to have a five-minute conversation. You can discuss goals you set in the more formal talks, but consider these other interactions a key time to mention either positive or negative performance–it should never be a surprise brought up at one of the quarterly meetings.
  • Recognize that each employee is different. Avoid trying to tout a “formula for success” because, as we know, not everyone works the same and you have employees, not automatons. The general gist of the conversation may well start out the same with goal setting, but when you make the process and questions the same, you begin to get the same answers instead of honest replies. This in turn begins to negate the idea of development; that comes through dialogue, not ticking off answers on a questionnaire. Help each employee reach their goals by the process that will work for them.
  • Review your process. As you go through employee reviews, make sure everyone has a similar end goal in mind: To improve as employees and develop new skills/methods. Therefore, it will help you if you review the conversations you just had and ask, “Was that productive? Did that discussion accomplish what we wanted it to? Did it have value for the employee?” You may even want to ask the employees to anonymously review the process as well; their feedback is as valuable as yours, especially when it comes to helping them develop as employees.

The employee review process will always require some tweaking, but making it a continual conversation will help everyone to make it as productive as possible. For help fine-tuning your process, reach out to the local staffing partners at PrideStaff Thousand Oaks/Ventura County.

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