First line supervisors are definitely deficient on how to do reviews. Because of that some employees don’t get proper feedback, don’t get the recognition they deserve, and might feel disgruntled or overlooked. We need to deal with this now before anyone leaves for the wrong reasons.
Thoughts of the Day: Reviews are an essential communication tool, used to make sure employee, manager and company are all on the same page. Reviews should not be a surprise. Make sure that supervisors understand their responsibility for providing regular written feedback to all of the employees who work for them. Structuring how reviews are done will make it easier to teach entry level supervisors how to do them.
In reality, employees are getting feedback all day long. Do this, don’t do that. Try it this way. Take a risk. Don’t step out of bounds. It comes from all directions, some positive, some negative, some recognizing and some criticizing performance. Employees can easily get confused and wonder exactly where they stand.
It’s helpful for both employee and supervisor to take time periodically to sit down and more formally discuss how things are going. Using a written format increases awareness and retention. Using a review to also document goals going forward can give supervisor and employee a go-forward picture of what’s expected, and something to look back upon down the road.
Reviews can help identify and clear up misunderstandings. They can become training tools. Doing regular reviews helps the company better understand the depth and potential of its current human capital pool. Done well, reviews can enhance personal, team and department accountability and responsibility.
It’s important that employees receive constant feedback, both positive and corrective. Continuous dialog between supervisor and employee helps to insure that employees know what to do, what’s acceptable, what to fix, and what their current work is leading towards.
When it comes to review time, supervisors common fears include giving out bad news and dealing with confrontations. If supervisors are on top of their day to day feedback to employees, there shouldn’t be any surprises come review time. The goal of a review is to confirm what supervisor and employee have been working on all along.
Some supervisors will make the mistake of thinking that because they are constantly giving their employees oral feedback, there’s no need for a written review. The written review is essential. It confirms that both supervisor and employee are working with the same information. Reviews are a chance for employees and supervisors to review and update feedback that’s been handed out over time. Written reviews can also be used to inform managers who may be looking for internal recruits, to build company training programs, and to identify talent strengths and weaknesses throughout the organization.
Once reviews are done, make sure each employee has a list of go-forward actions to work on. Develop a training plan for each employee and for the company overall. Include internal and external training and development programs, reference how well they were used in the next review cycle.
Build a uniform format that everyone in the organization has to use to conduct reviews. Make as much of it in check off format as possible. Ask employees to provide their input and match that to supervisor input to see if there are any discrepancies. Give supervisors a chance to review employee input before having to meet with employees. Prepare written instructions for how to fill out the forms.
Set up training classes and require all supervisors to attend before conducting their first reviews. Include experienced managers who have been hired from the outside; they have to learn about your company’s practices when it comes to doing reviews. Allow time for supervisors to practice during training sessions to increase their comfort and effectiveness.
Set a schedule of what reviews need to be done by when, and who will be doing them. Assign the responsibility for tracking review progress to make sure that each supervisor and employee is on track. As an owner, reinforce the importance and quality of your company’s review process: do reviews regularly with your own direct reports and get feedback on how they view the process. Ask employees for input on what else they would like to have discuss or have happen.
Looking for a good book? The Essential Performance Review Handbook: A Quick and Handy Resource for Any Manager or HR Professional, by Sharon Armstrong.