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Inspire Success

Providing hints, tips and ideas that help you maintain high performing workplaces that are customer focussed and free of conflict

5 Key Elements of Effective Performance Reviews

Rae Phillips - Wednesday, October 13, 2010
As business owners we are operating in one of the most challenging times ever. Many of us have had to change the structure of our business, lay off staff and rethink our priorities.
We have people in our organisations that we trust with the vision for our business and we are working hard to maintain productivity levels and customer satisfaction results. What can we do to make sure we keep our people fired up and excited?

These 5 key elements to effective performance reviews are presented to give you a head start when you are managing the performance of your people.

1. Be consistent;
2. Train everyone;
3. Keep good records;
4. Set expectations early;
5. Follow up.

It is our intention that with knowledge and focus, you will set your people up for success and improve individual and team performance and productivity! Good luck – let us know how you go!

1. Be Consistent
Implement a consistent method of reviewing performance at your place. This could mean having a 6 weekly mid probation review; meeting for 30 minutes every 3 months; a six monthly catch up or anniversary reviews. Always use self assessments and let people know what will happen after the meeting.

TOP TIP: As you bring on a new employee, schedule the review meetings in your diary so you are prepared and don’t miss any.

2. Train Everyone
Have you ever felt like you were ‘pulling teeth’ when meeting with your staff? This was probably because they were unsure of the reason for the meeting and what their role was. Make sure you not only train the staff who are conducting the performance reviews, but also those who are being assessed. You will get MUCH BETTER results if everyone understands the objectives and the best ways to participate.

TOP TIP: Give out an FAQ sheet with the review forms so that the reviewer and reviewed can benefit from previous experience and plan for their meeting.

3. Keep Good Records
Keep good records so you can refer back to the meeting content, justify your performance ratings and follow up. Always bring a copy of the position description, any previous reviews, any notes on file and your semi completed review form to the meeting. It is critical that you base the review on the typical performance for the entire period.

TOP TIP: If you can, have someone else making the notes and get everyone to read them and sign off at the

4. Set Expectations Early
Prospective employees should know during the recruitment stage that you have a performance management process – don’t make it a secret! Make sure that performance is assessed against the information in the position description and only refer to tasks, skills levels, experiences that are required to carry out the duties of the role. Let them know what the expectations are for improvement. Who is responsible, when will the change need to occur?

TOP TIP: Your position descriptions are a practical tool that can be used from recruitment, to Onboarding, training and reviewing performance gaps – make sure they are reviewed before each vacancy is filled.

5. Follow Up
Is the change required skills based or attitudinal? Is it more related to continuing development? It is imperative that you do what you say you will – when you said you would! If it is your responsibility to arrange training or a buddy, get it done straight after the meeting so you don’t forget!

TOP TIP: Schedule appointments for follow up discussions and invite the right people as soon as possible so you don’t get side tracked and end up weeks overdue for a critical performance discussion.
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