Take the Stress Out of Your Performance Review Process

November 30th, 2012

Performance review season is right around the corner, and in keeping with annual tradition in most offices, both managers and employees are gearing up for an awkward ordeal. Nobody looks forward to review time. Employees dread it, managers often resent it, and HR pros aren’t usually excited about the task of adjusting payment and compensation based on subjective employee contributions. But despite their lack of popularity, annual reviews provide a necessary method of keeping salaries fair and employees engaged and motivated to perform throughout the year. So what are some of the steps managers can take to keep this important task from becoming an annual headache? Keep these considerations in mind.

Choose Your Model Carefully

The science of performance evaluation grows more sophisticated every year, and with every new behavioral study, managers are presented with new algorithms and metrics for measuring employee success. Whether you choose a nine-box, 360 degree, weighted ranking method, or any of dozens of options, make sure your format matches your workplace culture and your business model. 

Begin With Self Evaluations

Launch the conversation between managers and employees by giving employees an opening opportunity to evaluate themselves. This gives employees a sense of control over the process and it helps managers and employees start on the same page by identifying a shared set of weak points and strengths.

Consistency is Key

Even though employees won’t participate in the evaluations of their peers, the process should be standardized and managers should make a strong effort to be objective as they compare the performance of one employee with another. Of course the bar will be higher for more experienced employees than it will be for new hires, but all standards of measurement should equitable, reasonable, and fair.

Focus on Performance, Not Attitude

Make sure all metrics used to judge employee success are based on output and performance, not attitude. If an employee produces quality work, her attitude should not be brought to the table during review time. Likewise, a struggling employee with a cheery, can-do spirit is still a struggling employee. During the review, stay focused on finding ways to improve her work and raise the value of her contributions.

Conduct Reviews in a Context

Keep the big picture in mind. If reviews aren’t followed by clear actions plans, clear rewards for excellence, or clear consequences for shortcomings, then why conduct them in the first place? The review offers a valuable way to track employee growth and progress throughout the year, and the final product should help create a road map to employee and company success.

For more tips and guidance on getting the most out of your annual employee review process, consult the NC staffing experts at PSU.

Personal Development Coaching: A Potential Job Perk

October 12th, 2012

In your effort to attract talented candidates, you’re probably wording your postings carefully, reaching out to a select target audience, and gathering a list of appealing perks that can help you present yourself well and get a leg up on your competition. If you haven’t done so already, include every small benefit that your employees will be able to access, like free parking, transportation discounts, or on-site day care. Most important, include continuing education and training resources that employees can use to get ahead.

Great Employees Appreciate Personal Coaching

Let prospective employees understand the basic details of your mentoring program, if you have one
(and if you intend to attract ambitious, motivated team members, you should definitely have one.) A well-structured and well organized mentoring system suggests that you care about an employee’s future beyond the limits of a specific job.

Other forms of structured coaching can include non-job specific training programs in areas like leadership, communication, conflict resolution, and team building. If your HR team has the resources and experience to provide these programs in-house, consider offering optional or mandatory seminars. Otherwise, establish a contract with a professional training firm.

Continuing Education

Managers of small companies often assume that tuition matching programs lie outside the scope of their budgets. But before you dismiss the idea, conduct some careful research and consider the long term benefits. Educated staff members may be more productive, but just as important, the fact that you’re willing to offer the program suggests that you’re willing to invest in your employees futures, and this can help you gain the attention of highly motivated applicants. And your training and certification benefits, while expensive on the surface, can allow you to sidestep the salary premiums that already-certified candidates sometimes command.

Tuition matching is only one possible way to support continuing education. You may also be able to fund an employee’s entire degree program in exchange for a long term commitment of two, three, or five years.  Even small and inexpensive gestures can help you gain the respect of both current and potential hires. For example, consider allowing an employee to work flexible hours so he or she can attend classes during the day.

Arrange a consultation with the NC staffing experts at PSU for more detailed information on training and continuing education resources for promising employees.



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