Human Capital Management Blog

Strategies for HCM Professionals

5 strategies for improving your company’s employee review process

One of the most important aspects of human capital management is being able to examine your staff closely and find the common strengths and weaknesses among your employees. What skills do your people have in spades? In what areas do they still have room for improvement?

Perhaps the most common way of gauging these things is with the employee review. Managers take a few minutes to sit their employees down in a meeting room, go through a list of questions and systematically paint the complete picture of the worker’s performance, piece by piece.

The problem is that this process tends to get old and stale. At many places of business, management is still married to an outdated way of gauging employee performance that’s not a good fit for the modern workforce. They have old processes, old paper forms to fill out and an old schedule. For example, many companies still hew to the tradition of “one review per year, right around New Year’s.” What good is that strategy in a climate where many employees leave before a year is up?

According to Inc. magazine, it’s time to spice up the process a little bit. One idea is to hold review sessions more often instead of adhering to a rigid yearly schedule. Paul Falcone, author of “2600 Phrases for Effective Performance Reviews,” told the news source that this can certainly help.

“Employee reviews are a process that should happen all year long,” Falcone said. “How much do you value me as an employee if, out of the 2,080 hours I work – and lord knows it’s more than that – you only give me one review? It’s just not enough.”

Having reviews more often is just one idea – there are plenty of others that can work. The following are five potential strategies for enhancing the employee review process at your place of business:

Do the prep work
The last thing you want to do is look unprofessional in an employee review because you aren’t prepared. Make sure you go in knowing the basics already – who the worker is, what they do and what their aspirations are.

Have an honest conversation
If all you do is stick to the script and ask a set of cookie-cutter questions, you probably won’t get much more than cookie-cutter answers. Try to go beyond the basics and really have an open, honest conversation with the employee.

Let the employee do the reviewing
Reviews shouldn’t just be a one-way street, with the manager grilling the employee with questions. Let the employees review their bosses, too. There should be two-way dialogue about how to improve office relationships.

Set aside money matters
Employee reviews are often used as a forum to talk about pay raises, but that can get contentious and detract from the honest discussion about improvement. Consider keeping the salary negotiations separate from the review process.

Put away the paperwork
Reviews don’t have to consist of you, the manager, simply reading questions off of a form. You can be better than that. Try putting the form away and simply talking with your employees. You’ll be amazed at the results.

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