Do Performance Reviews Really Work?

by | Sep 22, 2012 | Outsourcing and Hiring Tips Blog

performance reviews

performance reviewsQuestion: “Do performance reviews really work?”

— Avril Balderson, CPA Firm in Australia

Yoon’s Answer: Avril, my short answer is YES!!!!! They do work!

So, why do they don’t work so well for some companies? …What I see is that many companies have performance reviews that just are not specific enough about what the tangible actions and behaviors they want to see more of and which they do not tolerate. This can be slippery if the company does not have a job description written out that clearly describes what the expectations are on specific tasks, results and behaviors.

The performance reviews that do not work effectively are also wrought with subjective measurements, which by definition, would not qualify as a “measurement” in the first place if it’s not truly measurable. Employees need to leave their performance review with a clear action plan of what exactly they can do differently to be awarded higher marks are their next performance review.

I also see in many companies managers or owners who are delivering the performance reviews for employees who they don’t even supervise or direct on a day to day basis. Here is a classic example where a performance review of course could not be expected to make much of an impact, simply because a performance review tool was used. In this case, the tool was used inappropriately. A manager/owner can’t possibly be effective merely delivering snippets of what they hear other people in the company saying about the employee’s performance.

There are many actions managers can take to improve the impact of how they use performance reviews.

One of the first places to begin would be to tie in a heart to heart goal setting planning session where the manager is helping the employee identify a career track for them inside a company where advancement opportunities are present.

If advancement opportunities are not present, the manager can still conduct a goal setting session to uncover what motivates that employee — what they like the most about the company and its culture, etc.

What the manager (or business owner) needs to achieve is a relationship of caring about his/her peopleI’m not talking about management who CATERS to your people. CARING about your people here strikes a distinctive difference.

You may have heard the mantra, “people don’t care about how much you know, until they know how much you care”.

Likewise; here is where I have to point out, people don’t care about working harder for you, if they don’t first feel that you care and appreciate them. That’s where a goal-setting session is critical as a pre-requisite to their actual performance review.

Yes, the performance review is an incredible tool that can be used to help your people blossom. But, your leadership style has to first provide good soil and foundation to help cultivate the desired responsiveness to their performance review experience.

Of course, as with anything, there’s more to it. But, these would make some great first steps to helping you move in the right direction.

If you would like to discuss how to motivate greater productivity in your employees, or how to motivate your sales team, I’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-minute discovery session. You can reach me at (215) 292-4947 or email me at my address below.

Here’s to your success!




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