Four Reasons to Have Employee Reviews More Than Once Per Year

May 10th, 2019

If you’ve been holding formal employee performance evaluations once every year, usually in early January, then you’re not alone. This traditional review cycle has been the standard for a long time, and plenty of businesses still manage employees using this strategy.

But it may be time for an upgrade, one that better reflects the realities of modern work life and effective employee coaching. Here are a few reasons to drop the old model and embrace a review schedule with more flexibility and frequency.

It’s more memorable.

If you sit with your employee in January and give a directive, for example, “Here’s how to handle a crisis that’s likely to surface once a year, if ever”, you can’t expect your instructions to be remembered when the moment arrives and it’s time to apply them. That’s just not reasonable. But if you deliver you guidance, mentoring, tips, directives, and coaching prescriptions once every quarter or so, they’re more likely to stick.

It’s more actionable and fair.

The same way you wouldn’t issue a directive six months in advance, you can’t reasonably deliver correction and coaching six months after the fact. Watching an employee make a mistake in June and waiting until January to lecture her about it won’t fly. She’ll resent this treatment, and rightly so. Instead, stop her at the moment and deliver your feedback and coaching informally—On the spot if possible. An extra bonus: she won’t keep repeating the mistake over and over for the next six months while you check the calendar and wait.

It gives you an opportunity to observe and praise improvements.

If you had to scold or criticize someone during their once-annual formal evaluation, the moment may have been awkward for both of you. Such moments can be so uncomfortable or discouraging that they often start the wheels in motion that eventually push the employee to seek work elsewhere. Here’s how the old model works: In January, you shine a light on a performance issue. By May the employee is struggling to correct it and simultaneously keeping an eye out for new job opportunities. By June she gets an offer and by July she’s gone. Here’s the new model: In January you deliver your critique. By May you see clear improvements and deliver a new evaluation with a very different tone. By July the employee is fully back on track, up to speed, and thriving.

It helps you reap the benefits of positive feedback.

Positive feedback oils the gears of the employee-employer relationship. If your team is like a garden of plants, your encouragement falls on them like fresh rain. So don’t put it off! Water those plants as often as possible. Formally, informally, in quick meetings or drawn-out sessions, if they’re doing well, let them know!

For more on how to coach and evaluate your teams, turn to the pros at PSU.

Four Tips for Better Employee Evaluations

January 11th, 2019

Improving your evaluation process can have a cascading impact on the success of both your team and your company overall. Smarter evaluations leave employees feeling motivated to succeed, they place employees on a clearly marked path to higher productivity, and then generate goodwill, since they let each employee know they are observed, known, and cared about. This feeling boosts retention, retention boosts teamwork, and teamwork brings success. Start this positive spiral by taking these four steps.

Positivity wins, negativity loses … every time.

When you scold or lecture a child, you might accomplish something meaningful or even life-saving (depending on the personality of the child). A sentence like “Never run into the street again, do you hear me?” has a place in child-rearing. But sentences like these have no place at all in a professional environment. Workers are not children. Review your words, both spoken and written, and remove anything that comes across as angry, personally critical, demeaning or threatening. This includes statements that attack the person instead of the action, for example “You aren’t good at this” instead of “You haven’t learned how to do this yet. Let’s get you the training/exposure/mentoring you need.”

Keep feedback informal and frequent.

Company policy may dictate one formal review process per year. But to make this process more effective, spend the entire year providing real-time, informal feedback on the employee’s progress and actions. Don’t watch them make a mistake in June and wait until December to officially criticize them for it. The annual review should formalize the setting of specific, measurable, actionable goals for the year ahead, based on the victories and lessons of the year just past.

Let the employee know why they (specifically) are valued here.

Avoid treating employees like indistinguishable warm bodies in chairs. Even if the job requires minimal training or experience, don’t let the employee feel dispensable. Show respect for the job and show respect for the person who holds it. Remind them why they were hired over other applicants, emphasize the importance of the role, explain the company’s hopes for them, and let them know your goal is to maintain a happy and mutually beneficial relationship. Make this clear during moments of both constructive criticism and praise. If you disrespect the person or devalue the job, expect turnover.

Set a high bar and expect the same.

Treat the employee with calm, professional positivity … and expect the same. Don’t open the door to awkward, angry, apologetic or obsequious behavior. Carefully choose the accomplishments and mistakes you decide to highlight and the terms you use to describe the employee’s journey to success. Don’t follow any turn in the conversation that slides the mood toward personal blame, shame, anger, gloating, empty promises on either side, or fear. Stay cool and collected.

For more on how to get the most out of your review process and prevent post-review turnover, contact the experts at PSU.

©Year Personnel Services Unlimited, Inc.
All Rights Reserved. Site Credits.