Being the subject of scrutiny is hard; scrutinizing others is, arguably, just as difficult. Yet businesses are more than ever preoccupied with cutting costs and getting results, and performance reviews are the best way to measure an employee’s work ethic and productivity. Moreover, they can be beneficial to the company, as they help employees improve in problem areas and afford them a feeling of pride in their strengths.
It’s particularly relevant now: in May, Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board, announced that the government would be getting serious about performance reviews for public servants. Inadequate reviews, he said, are demoralizing for staff who work hard, yet have to watch their less industrious colleagues be rewarded for their lack of productivity.
So what do we do when we’re not sure how to go about identifying someone’s strengths and weaknesses for performance reviews?
First, identify his or her responsibilities. This allows us to determine which skills are applicable to that position, and thus whether or not the employee in question is performing adequately. After all, we can’t judge someone in an administrative support position by the same standards as we would, say, a biologist. A researcher’s work can be measured in concrete terms; a service provider’s cannot.
Second, we need to start touching base with our employees more frequently. It is unfair to simply base what is supposed to be an annual performance review on the couple of months leading up to the review. We must be familiar with the work our employees do throughout the entire year. In fact, you should be conducting ongoing oversight and feedback.
Third, we should provide a clear outline of the organization’s goals. This way, employees have a better understanding of what they are doing (or aren’t doing) to meet those goals. Furthermore, it makes employees feel as though the work they do is valued and making a difference within the company – yet more incentive for them to keep doing the best work they possibly can.
Have you ever had to write a performance review before? Do you agree that performance reviews could be conducted in a more productive and helpful manner? Let us know in the comments.