Best Practices for Year End Reviews

Come year end, you’re likely to be swamped with employee reviews. While you want to ensure you properly assess each employee and provide valuable feedback each can use to improve in the upcoming year, it can be difficult to do so when you’re managing multiple reviews. Here, we offer you some help to ensure that […]

Come year end, you’re likely to be swamped with employee reviews. While you want to ensure you properly assess each employee and provide valuable feedback each can use to improve in the upcoming year, it can be difficult to do so when you’re managing multiple reviews.

Here, we offer you some help to ensure that your year end reviews are beneficial both to you as the manager as well as to your employees.

Decide What’s Worth Measuring

You don’t want to nitpick over every detail in a review, such as coming in a few minutes late once or twice. Decide what criteria are important — and this might be different for each employee — and set a benchmark to measure against.

For example, if you want your PR Manager to boost media mentions of your company, identify what point she’s starting from. Perhaps it’s 20% more mentions over last year’s numbers. The more numbers you use in measuring, the more exact you can be in your review.

Be Specific and Transparent

Mike Steinerd, Director of Recruiting at Indeed, says the more specific a review, the more useful it is for the person being reviewed, and the more likely it will lead to improved performance and morale.

“Reviews should include specific examples of great performance or areas for improvement,” he says, “If there is no formal review structure, create a transparent process – divide the review into competencies (specific skills) and behaviors, clearly defining how much weight each competency and behavior holds, so employees know exactly how they are evaluated.”

Look Back at Last Year’s Review

Don’t file away employee reviews to gather dust! Take out last year’s (and perhaps even reviews from previous years) and look at what your goals were for each employee. Discuss whether those goals have been reached, and if not, what is keeping her from achieving them.

Offer Constructive Criticism…and Compliments

Many employees agonize over that looming year end review because they fear your criticism. Make it clear that in no way are you there to berate them, but rather to help them improve. And sprinkle in some positive observations so each employee knows you’re paying attention — not just to her errors, but also her accomplishments.

Gather Feedback From all Parties

Steinerd also stresses the importance of more than one person chiming in on the review. You can get a 360 view of how an employee responds to her boss and interacts with her peers if you solicit feedback from those who work with her the most.

“This not only ensures that more than one point of view is included, but also helps employees feel that their reviews accurately reflect their work.”

Set Goals for Next Year

If you’ve offered a few pointers for the employee being reviewed to work on, give her a reason to want to improve. Discuss the possibility of a larger raise once she meets milestones you establish together, or being promoted, once she accomplishes several goals.

The purpose of year end reviews is to ensure that you and your staff are aligned in your efforts to make the company successful. By helping each employee understand her areas of weakness, you can help her become a better employee. While that certainly helps boost your company’s productivity, it also helps her grow professionally. If she sees a clear-cut career path at your company, she will want to work harder for you.

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