Measuring job performance is an essential practice when measuring a business. They provide valuable metrics that provide insight into the employee’s skill and cost value.
Many employees scoff at the idea of performance reviews because they feel they are not appropriately appraised of nonperformance factors.
Therefore, in an employee performance review, it’s important to only review based on performance and nothing that can get the business in trouble with the courts based on protections under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
What Not to Do When Conducting an Employee Performance Review?
A performance review must be a two-way conversation where the manager and employee have the chance to speak. The point of an employee performance review is to make the employee aware of both their strengths and weaknesses.
Unfortunately, many employers only focus on an employee’s weakness without giving them an example of how they can improve. A performance review that doesn’t come off as constructive can damage the employee’s morale.
Here are a few things to avoid when conducting an employee performance review:
- Comparing the employee to others: Using another employee to set the standard for the employee you’re evaluating only causes disdain towards the better-performing employee and could cause hostility in the workplace. The comparison isn’t fair to the struggling employee and could even cause more performance-related issues. Every employee has a different approach to work and needs the opportunity to adapt to their situation instead of trying to follow someone else’s success.
- Low-quality feedback: Low-quality feedback includes a lack of examples or proper communication. Do not simply criticize their work without giving them examples of why their work is poor or not giving them examples of how they can improve on their work. Using the words “always” or “never” should not be used when appraising an employee about their performance. Providing low-quality feedback only aims to cause a defensive feeling with your employee and will negatively affect their productivity.
- Watch for hypocritical statements: Many employees feel their supervisors or managers won’t do the same things they’re being asked to do. Don’t negatively rate an employee for something you wouldn’t do yourself in their shoes. The only thing hypocritical statements do is cause distrust in management and an overall lack of motivation. One thing to watch out for when making statements is telling an employee that you’d like to see them take more initiative when tasks are assigned, especially if it was not in their job description. This only leads to employees feeling as if they’re not doing their job properly or are doing too much to the point where they’ll request more compensation.
- Praise when it isn’t earned: Not all employee evaluations are negative. You might have a model employee sitting in front of you and you can’t think of any weaknesses. It may be tempting to shower them with too much praise. Giving an overabundance of praise may lead an employee into believing there is no room for improvement and may even cause a dip in productivity coming from an employee who believes they can do no wrong and that everything they do is right.
Now that you know what to avoid when appraising an employee, we’re going to look at how to conduct performance reviews, general tips for performance reviews, and how to do an employee performance review virtually.
How To Conduct an Employee Performance Review?
Employee performance reviews can be stressful for the employer as well. Sometimes, performance reviews are uncomfortable conversations, as employees can feel as if they’re targeted or unfairly judged.
In fact, according to Business News Daily, 85% of employees would leave their position due to unfair feedback. That’s why it’s important to conduct a professional and unbiased performance review. Here are ways to successfully conduct an employee performance review.
#1. Be prepared
The number one rule when conducting an employee performance review is to prepare. You don’t want to wing it. Gallup Research shows an increase in productivity and employee-manager relationships when performance assessments are productive and fair, so preparation is key.
Whether you’re conducting an in-person performance review or a virtual review, have examples ready to give your employee when discussing raising their performance and be ready to answer questions specific to the individual employee. Now that you know how to conduct a performance review through early preparation, there are some general tips you should adhere to when evaluating an employee.
#2. Let The Employee Speak
Letting the employee speak means becoming an active listener. You’re not only there to cast judgment on an employee but to give them as much talking time as you get. Letting the employee speak gives you the opportunity to get valuable feedback on the company and listen to what management can do to improve staff morale.
It could be that the employee’s performance issues are caused by the performance of management, so listening to the other side is very valuable. One of the best tips from Business Insider is to let the employee speak first. Letting the employee speak makes them feel valued and heard, and it allows appraisers to give appropriate feedback.
#3. Remaining Objective
A performance review that isn’t objective and focuses on personal subjective issues can be demoralizing for an employee. Non-objective performance evaluations make employees feel devalued as if their evaluation isn’t graded by specific performance metrics and only based on opinion alone.
Liz Hocker, director of HR services with a Texas-based company states how difficult it is to remain impartial due to a lack of sensitivity training. Yes, remaining completely objective during a performance review may seem impossible sometimes. This is due to there being a degree of subjectivity in the human brain when one human being is responsible for the judgment of another. Subjective matters during a performance appraisal include:
- Evaluating an employee based on their social interactions.
- Rating an employee based on their personality or attitude.
- Appraising an employee based on a stereotype or bias.
However, if you stick to specific evaluation criteria, that include:
- Specific business targets
- Employee output
- And other measurable business goals
then it’s easier to remain objective during a performance review.
#4. Use The Performance Review as a Coaching Opportunity
A performance review isn’t only an opportunity for you to give and receive feedback, but it’s also the perfect coaching opportunity. Often, days are so busy with everyone going about their work that there isn’t an organic time to sit down and effectively coach employees.
However, you must keep in mind that coaching is not the same as casting judgment with no feedback. Your feedback needs to be constructive, and it’s the goal of this coaching session for both the employer and employee to come out the other end, ready to be more efficient and productive.
Just like in sports, coaching doesn’t have to only be a one-way street. You can encourage your employees to play on their strengths and improve their weaknesses, but you also must be open to their ideas. Having the same goals in mind helps build confidence for the employee and makes them feel as if they’re truly contributing to the team.
However, the current state of the world has us working through a global pandemic. This means a lot of companies have shifted to a virtual work-from-home model. Does this mean appraisals of performance must also switch to a virtual performance review model? How is a virtual employee review any different than an in-person performance review? Let’s look at how to conduct a performance appraisal for remote employees.
#5. Setting Realistic Goals
Setting goals is essential to any business to help boost performance and productivity. For many employees, having attainable goals makes them feel more motivated. However, the goals you set for your employees need to be realistic with clear objectives.
In the case of a virtual performance review, these goals need to be set with little to no way of tracking progress. When employees are working remotely, there’s no way to stand over their shoulders to ensure they’re working. That’s why setting measurable goals is important, and why it’s an essential part of a virtual employee appraisal.
How to Do an Employee Performance Review Virtually
The difference between an in-person review and a virtual review is obviously the fact that both management and the employee are not in the same room. When preparing for a virtual performance review, there are a few things to consider.
#1. Keeping A Compassionate Tone During the Virtual Performance Review
Even though you’re conducting a virtual review, you still need to keep a professional tone throughout the appraisal. The employee is going to be just as nervous and rigid at the beginning of the virtual performance review.
If you notice their body language on camera appears nervous, then you’re not setting a comforting tone for the meeting. For virtual performance reviews, it’s imperative to use video calls as it helps both the manager and employee feel comfortable knowing they can properly gauge tone through facial expression and body language.
Regardless of whether this virtual performance review has more constructive criticism than praise, it’s essential to keep a compassionate, yet professional, tone. The past year or two, specifically, have been very tumultuous. Management needs to understand that mental health has affected everyone’s productivity and performance. Keep all these points in mind when conducting a performance appraisal for remote employees.
#2 Being Goal-Based
According to a study done by Harvard Business Review, a request made in-person is more successful than one made remotely. It’s difficult, without time-tracking software, to know when your employees are working. That’s why it’s important to keep your virtual performance appraisal goal-based. You want to set realistic and quantitative goals, including:
- Quantitative goals, such as cost reduction or new clients.
- Team-based goals, such as running a meeting once a week.
- Specific goals, such as learning a new skill or program for the business
Being goal-based in your virtual performance review only lends to the success of the employee, and the company as long as feedback is clear and time-efficient, according to Forbes.
#3. Focus More on the Future Than the Past
In the year 2022, the past is not a place any employee wants to relive, especially during their virtual performance evaluations. More importantly, with many businesses switching to the virtual model, there might be some valuable feedback that could affect the future of the business.
When dealing with low performers who were affected by the pandemic, you should give them a chance to explain their situation. Understand that this pandemic has affected everyone, and 2022 is the perfect opportunity for everyone to heal emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially. As the person conducting the virtual interview, help your employee recalibrate towards the future and give them the opportunity for a mental reset.
A virtual performance review is almost no different than a regular in-person performance review. You still must prepare as if you were sitting face-to-face, evaluate only on performance, build confidence in low-performing employees, and recognize your better-performing employees.