As one year ends and another begins, green industry owners have plenty to organize, plan, and start executing upon. One of the most important pieces of your 2018 plan should be your employee performance reviews. Performance reviews are a crucial element of your employee’s ability, and high-performing employees are crucial for the entire company’s success. Whether you want to improve your process or you’re completing an employee review for the first time, here’s seven tips.
Perfecting and Conducting the Employee Performance Review
1. SET GOALS
The first step to an effective performance review is effective goal-setting. It’s vital that your employees know what their goals for the year will be, so they know what is expected of them and can work towards those goals. The goals that you come up with, and details on how you will evaluate those goals, should be provided to employees as soon as possible. Goals should be specific to each employee, but should also align with the company’s organizational goals. If you’re struggling to come up with goals, remember the SMART framework: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-Oriented, and Time-Bound.
2. RECOUNT THE WHOLE YEAR
It can be easy during a performance review to let the most recent events—both positive and negative—influence your assessment of an employee’s performance. Remember that you are assessing the employee’s work as a whole for the entire year. It’s a good idea to document positive occurrences and negative occurrences throughout the year, so when it comes time for the year-end review you’ll be able to look at the overall picture.
3. MAKE SURE EMPLOYEES KNOW WHAT TO DO AND WHEN
If you want your employees to submit a self-evaluation, you’ll want to make sure they know what you’re expecting of them, and when you need it by, so they can prepare in advance. Set guidelines and deadlines for self-evaluations and make sure your team gets that information at least a few months before assessments are due. Beyond that, make sure your employees know when you will be preparing the performance review and also when you will be meeting with them to discuss the review. Never spring a performance review meeting on an employee—you want them to come in prepared, not startled.
4. PREP FOR YOUR MEETING
Although you may think you can just wing the performance review meeting, don’t. You might know off the top of your head general insights into an employee’s performance, but you want to be prepared with specific details so your employee gets the most out of the review. Use the wins and losses you documented throughout the year to identify patterns and examples of the types of performance you want to point out. The more you can do this, the better your employees can understand what you want from them and the more they can act upon the feedback.
5. POSITIVITY IS IMPORTANT
You might think that you should focus mostly on the negatives, since you want your employees to leave their meetings knowing what they need to improve upon in the upcoming year. However, while it’s true that you should candidly discuss areas that need improvement, it’s even more important to spend time covering the positives. Positive feedback will be rewarding and motivating to your employees. You should spend the majority of your time discussing how the employee can continue to grow their performance. This could mean your employee needs to have less negatives, but it could also mean they need to continue to have more positives.
6. TRUST EACH OTHER
The tone of the performance review will set the stage for its effectiveness. It should be a genuine conversation, and one in which your employees trust that you really want to help them improve. If you do too much of the talking, or start lecturing, your employee will feel yelled at. A downtrodden employee is never motivated to perform better. You want employees who are motivated and excited to continue developing their abilities and contributing to the company. Ask your employees questions such as:
– What was challenging for you last year?
– What’s your personal goal for this year?
– How can I be a better manager for you?
7. DON’T LET IT END THERE
When the performance review process is over, don’t let it end there; continue to meet with your employees on a regular basis so you can have informal discussions about their performance throughout the year. No employee should ever be surprised by their performance review results—you should be guiding your employee as the months pass, and they should know whether they’ve been performing well or not. Meeting with your employees on a consistent basis to check in and continue coaching them is crucial to their continued career development. As we head into 2018, use these tips to make the most out of your performance reviews and nurture more productive, happier, and more skillful employees.
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