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Are You Making These Performance Review Mistakes?

When it comes to employee performance reviews, even the most prepared managers can succumb to certain pitfalls. These mistakes can potentially lead to lower employee morale and engagement and the next thing you know, you are looking for a replacement. This is time-consuming and costly anytime, but with the Great Reshuffle and the intense competition for talent, it becomes even more important to nurture the employees you have, and effective performance reviews can help. So, to ensure you and your employees are getting the most out of these reviews, you’ll want to avoid the following blunders:

  1. Conducting Annual Reviews vs. Real Time Reviews: The top mistake is thinking that performance reviews are an annual event. Real time performance reviews are critical to maintaining success; an employee should not be working off-path for more than a few hours, let alone an entire year.

  2. Allowing Personal Feelings to Influence Assessments: Rating certain employees highly because they’re a friend outside of work while others receive lower scores based on past disagreements is unacceptable. You should be honest, thorough and unbiased. The focus should be on an employee’s job performance and workplace behaviors, including time management skills, communication, initiative, and professionalism. Monica Siciliano, partner at De Novo HRC stresses that, “One metric for evaluating the individual contribution of a team member is their willingness to share knowledge and insights, versus hoarding information due to the misconception that it provides some sort of job protection. Employees who support other employees to achieve common goals should be rewarded for such behaviors.”

  3. Not Basing the Review on the Individual: Managers may put too much emphasis on how employees stack up against their peers. A successful review should focus on how employees fare against objective expectations and performance standards of their role.

  4. Mistaking a Long Tenure for Good Performance: A long tenure does not equate to high performance. Positive evaluations given to employees who’ve worked at the company for a long time without consideration of their performance doesn’t do them or the company any good. Managers should keep an eye out for long-term employees who may be simply “getting by” without demonstrating effort and engagement. Institutional knowledge is valuable, but having it is not an excuse for becoming complacent.

  5. Not Providing Feedback: A performance review without specific feedback is unhelpful; managers should always provide context and examples to back up their evaluations. Then, after any review, whether it went perfectly or caused some tension, managers should take the time to document what was discussed in the meeting. This document can serve as a guide for career advancement or a reference for future conversations about compensation or promotions.

Effective performance reviews conducted as needed and in real time help keep employee goals aligned with company goals and sets everyone up for success. Are your performance reviews doing all that? If they aren’t, contact us today and we can get you on the right track.


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