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HR Insights with Ali: Why Performance Reviews Should be About More than Feedback


Posted on 6/21/2017 by Ali Oromchian, Esq.
Performance reviews are one of those workforce tasks that both management and employees seem to dread. And while the term “performance review” may indicate otherwise, one of the biggest mistakes employers make is to use this task as their annual reminder to provide their workers with feedback. But using performance reviews in this way actually hurts your practice, and it causes you to miss out on a great opportunity.

The more effective approach when it comes to feedback on employee performance is to provide that feedback in a timely manner. For example, if an employee makes a mistake or could otherwise improve upon an action, you should address the problem right away. This approach ensures that the information is fresh in the employee’s mind and is more likely to be remembered. Plus, if an employee is making mistakes, then the sooner that you address the issue then the sooner that the problem can be corrected. No employee should be hearing about performance concerns for the first time during an annual review.

If you are providing feedback in a timely manner, then this also opens the door for using your performance review period for something more effective: listening to your employees. While you can use the annual review to discuss both hits and misses that the employee has had over the past year (which, hopefully, the employee had already heard about when they occurred), you can use a summation of those acts as a springboard for further discussions. For example, you could point out that while an employee made some mistakes early in the period, they were quickly corrected. This could then lead to a discussion in which you learn from the employee what steps you could’ve taken to have simplified the learning process to help future employees avoid making the same mistakes. The added benefit of this approach is that performance reviews become an activity that employees enjoy and look forward to as an opportunity for them to make their concerns and suggestions heard.

No one is saying that you should not evaluate the performance of your employees, but saving those evaluations for annual performance reviews effectively eradicates their usefulness. Provide feedback throughout the year, and then use the performance review as an opportunity to summarize all of that feedback and to learn from it. Both you, and your employees, will be happier with the results.
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