Performance Review Best Practices
Performance reviews aren't nice to have; they're a must-have.
In an ideal world, employees meet every expectation and anticipate needs with little direction. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world, and there's often communication breakdown between employers and employees. Maybe your dental tech isn't doing all he can to assist, causing ill feelings around the office. Maybe your receptionist doesn't have the cheerful, helpful demeanor you'd like for greeting your patients as they walk through the door. Whatever the situation, a performance review can help address the issues and get things back on track.
In addition, a documented performance review protects your company from lawsuits and other employee claims, such as wrongful termination. They allow you to show a pattern of on-the-job difficulties.
If you need assistance conducting a performance review for your employees, HR for Health can help. Contact one of our HR consultants for more information.
What Is a Performance Review?
The short answer is that a performance review is a process that evaluates how an employee executes their duties in the office.
For example, if your receptionist’s duties are answering the phones, greeting patients, scheduling appointments, and maintaining a clean, organized waiting area, then a performance review would evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of those skills.
A performance review is a formal assessment that requires documentation and offers feedback to the employee. It should also include goals the employee should strive to meet before the next review.
How Often Should You Review an Employee’s Performance?
There isn’t a set guideline for the frequency of performance reviews. Most practices aim to conduct a formal review at least annually, but more frequent reviews are also common. Many employers find it helpful to review new hires early in their tenure, perhaps around three months.
You could conduct performance reviews semi-annually, quarterly, monthly, or weekly. You don’t have to follow a schedule, which helps employees know what to expect.
Because formal performance reviews can be intimidating, some offices choose to skip the process. Instead, they have regular one-on-one meetings between employees and managers and aim to make the office more inviting for feedback in both directions.
The more casual atmosphere often works well for motivated employees. However, if you’re having ongoing issues with one particular employee, a formal review may be more helpful.
A performance review's primary goal is to ensure an employee’s work meets your office standards. However, there are many other benefits, too.
A review allows the manager and employee to offer insights and feedback to each other, which ultimately benefits the company and helps strengthen employee performance. Ideally, thoughts also enhance the relationship between the manager and the employee.
Finally, a formal review gives the manager an opportunity to document an employee’s performance for ongoing record-keeping purposes.
(If you need assistance with proper documentation, schedule a consultation with HR for Health.)
If the performance review goes as it should, the employee feels validated and heard, understands their strengths and weaknesses, knows the practice’s expectations, and feels motivated to meet new goals.
A performance review is the perfect opportunity to address any issues and offer feedback about correcting the situation for future reviews.
Should an Employee Prepare for a Performance Review?
While an office or human resources manager usually leads the performance review, the employee should also be an active participant. As the manager, you should encourage the employee to play their part.
This may mean:
• Planning topics and notes to discuss. Asking questions when necessary.
• Review prior performance reviews and prepare to explain how and when they met the goals outlined in the past.
• Outlining their views on their strengths and weaknesses.
Is There Anything to Avoid During a Performance Review?
While a review is sometimes necessary to address ongoing issues, you should never strive to make the employee feel belittled or upset. Try to come with an open mind, ready to discuss problems in a friendly, engaging manner.
Here are a few tips that may help:
Never criticize. Instead, offer examples of situations where employee performance didn’t meet standards. Make sure you’re clear and give detailed explanations. Explain how the employee could have handled the situation better.
Don’t compare. In a small office, it’s easy to make comparisons between employees. This is never a good idea. While you may think you’re motivating your employee, you’re actually creating needless competition that may foster resentment. When you’re discussing an employee’s performance, make sure you’re only discussing that particular employee’s performance.
Don’t patronize. While your employee isn’t necessarily your equal within the office, they are your equal as a human being and should be treated with respect. Don’t use condescending or patronizing language when speaking to your employee.
Don’t mislead. Sometimes it’s hard to find an employee’s strengths. While you don’t want a review to be entirely negative, it’s never a good idea to mislead an employee by saying something untrue. If your employee doesn’t have any particular strengths (which is quite rare), try to focus on encouraging ways the employee can work on their performance so you have a better evaluation next time.
Contact HR for Health for Assistance
HR for Health can assist with all your HR tasks, from new hire paperwork to performance reviews. Schedule a consultation to get started!