To Do or Not to Do Employee Reviews

To Do or Not to Do Employee Reviews

By Andrea Herran

Performance Reviews, Developmental Assessments, or whatever else you call it. That is the question.

This is always an interesting topic and there is so much debate about what makes a good performance review, how to get the most out of the conversation with the employee and what to do with the review when done.


If managers and leaders were better at communicating their expectations and how they were being met – would this be such a debated issue? Think about it…when was the last time you worked for someone and you knew how well you were doing, how well you were meeting expectations and where you needed to improve at any point in time working for them?

Unfortunately most people will answer “I never have” and a select few will say “it was great”. It’s unfortunate, a person’s performance shouldn’t be a surprise.

Not suggesting that everyday you sit down with an employee and have a formal conversation about performance. You can take advantage of the times or situations that present themselves to make a point. For example: if you have an employee who is really good at dealing with angry customers, the next time they deal with an angry customer successfully say “you never cease to amaze me at how well you do with angry customers, thank you and keep it up”. This employee now knows that they are exceeding your expectations with the customer.

Let’s take a not so positive situation. Take an employee who after several sessions of discussing a particular process still can’t seem to get it right. On your next conversation state “this is the last time I am going to review this with you, we have been through it several times before. I need you to ask your questions, take notes, etc. now and I expect you to be able to get it correct the next time. If you don’t, I may have to change your position”. You have set the expectation and told the employee they must meet it immediately or there will be consequences.

Imagine if you did not say a word to either employee during the year time between performance reviews, both would be uncertain and nervous about the review. Why? They don’t know what to expect. Consistent communication is the key. A performance review should not catch someone off guard.

This may be a skill or habit you need to develop as you have a tendency to get caught up in the day to day of your position. Jot down a note by your computer or phone, even add it to your To Do list if necessary, to remind you to say thank you or set an expectation. By doing this daily you are creating a habit and a communication channel that your employees will appreciate and depend on. After all, everyone wants to know where they stand and how they are performing.

Don’t let your reviews go the way of being dreaded, ridiculed, post-poned, or worse – ignored, communicate regularly and thoughtfully each day.

Andrea Herran is the principal of Focus HR Consulting ( ), which provides full human resources support to small business, provides a membership service through My HR Helpline for those who want expertise just a phone call away, and provides webinars and public speaking on HR topics. Subscribe to her bi-weekly newsletter

© 2010 Andrea Herran All Rights Reserved


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