If you want to have the smoothest running business possible, you need to ensure that your employees are operating at the highest possible level, and regular performance reviews are a great way to do this.
Not only do they keep people focused on improving themselves and adding value; it also gives them a chance to be regularly rewarded for the good work they’re doing, while ensuring that their monthly objectives are kept front-of-mind. Not to mention it also increases the touch points between managers and employees.
At the end of the day, employee reviews need to provide valuable and actionable information for both the employee and the business. We like to to follow a few guidelines to help us achieve this, which includes increasing employee accountability, asking the right questions, and getting the frequency of employee reviews right.
Each member of our team has a number of KPIs which they aim to excel in each month. Half of these are shared between the whole team, spanning from achieving targets in “learning new skills” to “outside-the-box thinking”.
The other half are unique to each individual, and have been agreed upon by employee and management. Each team member also picks their top three KPIs to be displayed on the big black board in the office (which we discuss in our weekly Friday meetings).
Why this is so important:
By having each team member agree on their KPIs with management, it’s all up to that individual to do what they can to achieve it (one of the first steps to achieving an objective is accepting full ownership of it).
By going through some of the main KPIs on a weekly basis, it keeps our team members on their feet and thinking about what they can be doing to achieve them.
Before monthly reviews, each team member is required to give themselves a rating out of 5 on their performance on each of their KPIs.
This increases employee accountability in tasking them to really think about how much effort they have given in the past month in achieving their KPIs, and makes them really think about how they can get those ratings a couple points higher.
Management also rates the individual’s performance out of 5, with the final rating being an average of the two.
Why this is so important:
This ensures that each team member attempts to rate themselves as accurately as possible, and gives them the chance to think about why they they gave themselves the ratings they did.
Following this process gives team members the chance to be as reflective as possible in assessing their performance over the last month.
It also highlights any discrepancies between how well the employee thinks they’ve been performing and what the manager expects of them. We encourage employees to challenge any manager rating they don’t think are accurate.
Asking the right questions:
By asking the right questions, you set up the opportunity to guide team members into the right direction.
The first question that should be raised is “how do you think you can improve performance in each KPI?
With the employee rating themselves on each KPI before the review, they should have a good idea on what they can be doing to improve on their performance in each area. And if not, a plan of action definitely needs to be discussed.
The second question feeds into the first, which should be “how can the team or management assist you in achieving your KPIs?”.
This way, team members should have all the help and resources they need to improve their scores.
A crucial element of employee reviews is that employees need to come out of them knowing exactly how well they are performing in the eyes of management.
If they’re underperforming, they need to know in which areas, and what they can do to improve. And If they’re performing well, it needs to be made very clear by management that their hard work isn’t going unnoticed.
Either way, the employee needs to leave the review feeling like it was a fair reflection of their performance, and they must know exactly what to do going forward.
We recommend setting up employee reviews at least once a month in order to get the most out of them, with team members getting a fair amount of time to think about their performance and prepare.
And an important thing to remember; employee reviews are not a time to reprimand team members, but rather a time to reflect on the past month, and brainstorm ways to improve performance for the next month.