It’s in your own best interest to nurture your staff and make sure they’re productive and thriving at your company. After all, turnover costs you money, in searching for a new hire and training him, so you’re better off making sure the staff you have is optimized. One way to do that is to set up an employee review process that not only helps you, but also helps your team understand your expectations and strive to meet them.
Set Them Up Regularly
You can adhere to the typical once-a-year employee review schedule…or you can meet more often, like two or three times a year. More frequent (and more informal) reviews can keep your employees on track to goals, and leave less time in between reviews so they stay motivated.
Think about your timing: is December really the best time for your reviews, given that half the staff is out of the office, and you’re time-crunched getting work done before the end of the year? Instead, schedule them based on their hire date so you don’t have dozens of reviews to get through in a single month.
Establish Goals Together
As I said, your review process should benefit you and your employee. Discuss goals together that each individual staff member can strive for. Perhaps you’d like to see one turn out two extra reports a week. That’s a reasonable goal.
Or if he’s angling for a promotion, make a list of goals he needs to accomplish in order for you to consider him for that promotion. This makes getting a promotion very black and white: if he can’t successfully accomplish the list, he won’t be eligible for something he wants.
Provide Constructive Criticism
This isn’t a time to sugarcoat your honest assessment of an employee’s work. Nor is it an opportunity to berate someone if they haven’t lived up to your expectations. Emotions shouldn’t be in the review process.
Find ways to constructively tell an employee about something you want him to work on. For example, if you find his work as of late to not be the quality it used to be, you could say:
“A few months ago, you were delivering top-notch work, and I was so impressed. But lately it feels like you haven’t been putting in that same effort. Is there a reason why?”
This approach does several things. First, it puts him at ease, because you start off with an honest compliment. It also opens the door for further conversation. Maybe he recently had a baby, and his lack of sleep is attributing to his lower quality work. Or maybe he didn’t feel you appreciated his efforts, so he slacked off a bit. Taking the right approach can mean the difference between you putting your employee up in arms and actually getting to the bottom of what’s changed.
The only way you’ll be able to measure where your employee is next year is if you first set up a baseline to measure against. Consider it your report card. Pick the areas that are most important to you (timeliness, quality work, motivation are a few examples) and give him a number, 1-10, for each. Then next year you can compare the new numbers to the previous ones and see if there has been an improvement.
Staying in touch with your staff this way helps you avoid potential loss of productivity and keeps your staff better, now that they know your expectations.