Back To Compensation Today

Employee Performance Reviews


5 Keys for Successful Employee Performance Reviews

Almost all organizations utilize employee performance reviews in one fashion or another. These reviews tend to run either on a set annual basis or on the anniversary hire date of the employee. Regardless of when they are performed, employee performance reviews are vital to both the employee and the supervisor, as they serve to gauge employee performance, and allow a formal setting to speak about expectations. Although they sound simple, and most of the labor force has been a part of this process, there are several ways for the organization to maximize this procedure and ensure employee review effectiveness.


What are your compensation plans for 2011? It depends on the economy, right? Let the PayScale Index help you forecast, with FREE insight into Compensation Trends, on the quarter.

Timeliness – For some reason or another, employee performance reviews tend to be placed on the backburner against the other projects and daily tasks that most supervisors are dealing with. It is important that employee reviews are completed on time because, although it may not be clear, timeliness speaks volumes to most people about how their work is regarded. Supervisors who put off doing performance reviews can often send mixed signals to their subordinates about individual performance, and also set a bad precedence about how they view timelines in general. If a supervisor is going to be late on a deadline, then that might leave subordinates comfortable with being late. If the supervisor doesn’t have time for a review, they should at least address the matter of lateness with the employee, and possibly conduct an informal discussion on performance, to be documented later.

Learn More About Our Compensation Software


Employee Input – Employee reviews are a two person process where employee input is absolutely vital. Allowing an employee to highlight their performance strengths and concerns not only puts an added interest on their part of the review, it also assists the supervisor in writing the performance review. Often times, supervisors won’t see or remember the more day-to-day details concerning an employee’s work. By the employee presenting their achievements, the supervisor can notice and address anything at the employee level that they don’t normally pay attention to. If an employee feels as though their input is valued in this process, they will be more invested in the review and what the supervisor has to say, thus improving the overall employee review effectiveness. Connecting with and focusing attention on the employee may also encourage them to perform better in the future.

Discuss The Negative – Most people do not like speaking negatively about another person’s work. This is true regardless of whether someone is addressing a peer’s performance, or if they’re analyzing a subordinate’s efforts. The employee performance review is the perfect time to discuss poor performance. People usually expect some level of criticism walking into a performance evaluation. This formal setting communicates to the employee that the performance issues are not something that require immediate attention and that they can be corrected. This is usually where the “compliment sandwich” is used, where supervisors precede and follow up a negative comment with compliments. Regardless of how it’s done, this is ideally the best time to identify poor performance.

Goal Setting – Many reviews focus on past employee performance and are usually tied with pay increases. These reviews will take a look at performance in some standardized scale, assign a score, and the review is complete. But, this is where the review is only half complete. After the discussion about past performance is finished, it is a good idea for the supervisor and employee to then set goals possibly on a quarterly or annual basis. This goal setting will serve to focus the employee’s performance based on past success and failures. It will also set the groundwork for the next performance review by generating an informal checklist. Goal setting in performance reviews can deal with anything from personal growth to increased work responsibilities.

Make It 360 – Employee performance reviews are excellent times for supervisors to ask for feedback regarding their management style and how expectations are communicated to the employee. Some consideration should be used if supervisors want to do this as it may result in opening up the door to loss of authority. However, if the supervisor explains their method of communicating expectations and satisfaction with results, this will encourage the employee to participate in the process because they will see that feedback matters to their supervisor. You can improve the employee review effectiveness by asking for feedback on how expectations are communicated. This ensures that employees who are performing poorly in the future cannot use clarity of information as an excuse.


Donald Nickels

Related Posts:

Do you have any salary range topics you would like to see covered here on Compensation Today? Write us a

Leave a Reply

Notify of
Start the Transformation

We can help you bring modern compensation to life in your organization.