Developing team effectiveness in your practice

On 24 July, 2012 in Human Resources by Sue Crampton

 

Developing employee potential through a consultative approach

The performance review process is an organised method for giving employees constructive feedback on their job progress in alignment with the practice job descriptions, which reflect the company policies and procedures and standards. If it is properly used, a review process can be a positive process for the employee and the supervisor.  It is usually undertaken six-monthly or annually, as a structured discussion between each employee and his or her immediate manager.  We suggest that you only use the performance review in a positive, helpful way and at all times use it in conjunction with the job description so the review process offers no “surprises”.

Benefits of a performance management review are that it:

  • helps to identify and recognise the productivity and willingness of employees.
  • provides information that the company can use to plan training programs and review management processes and operating procedures.
  • can strengthen the relationship with the employee.
  • it helps to pinpoint areas needing development before performance difficulties become serious.
  • recognises employee contributions and skills.
  • can be used as the basis for wage increases and the payment of bonuses.
  • identifies employees for future promotion or special projects.
  • encourages the manager to raise issues of concern in a supportive way.
  • is a system for treating all employees fairly.
  • ensures that formal communication occurs between the manager and employee.

You use performance reviews to not only provide advice and assistance for each employee but to collect information about training programs and possible improvements to the company.

You review each employee's performance by holding a structured meeting.  At this meeting you use the designated performance review form to guide the discussion.  Focus the discussion on the employee's performance since the previous appraisal, or since starting work and this must be in conjunction with the job description. 

Steps:

  1. Give a performance review form to the employee no less than 1 week before the review meeting to allow the employee time to think through the issues and assess.  
  2. As a manager you also complete a form prior to the meeting to ensure you are constructive in your approach. Ensure you collate and give examples of any feedback you offer the employee. E.g. on Monday I noticed that you did xyz. Take note of the rating system and ensure the employee is well informed on the process.
  3. Set a meeting date and stick to it. If the time needs to be rescheduled, ensure you give the employee adequate notice.
  4. During the meeting work logically through a new form together, ensuring that discussion is held on the ratings each party documented on their own form per task;
    • Record key performance objectives as agreed on with the employee. If the employee is new to the company you may discuss what you wish them to achieve during their induction program.
    • Work through each duty and rate the employees ability to undertake the performance criteria (standards) as discussed with them and as per job description and company manuals (SOP’S).
    • Discuss the overall ratings per category on the form.
    • Discuss career goals and training requirements as per form.
    • Set new key performance objectives for the next period.
    • Summarise the discussion; ensure both parties agree on discussion held.
    • Both parties sign the form and place form in personnel file.

Managers and Supervisors must play an active and responsible role in conducting performance reviews.  How they handle the process can directly impact staff perception of it.

  • Allow plenty of time.  You show this is an important discussion by giving each employee a reasonable period of uninterrupted time.  Use thirty minutes - 1 hour as a guide and vary it from there.
  • Focus discussion on work goals and expectations.  Keep your comments to job performance in areas such as accomplishments, work quality, communication with colleagues and customers, and areas of difficulty.
  • Problem-solve difficulties or concerns rather than criticise performance. Explain your concern and then ask the employee for suggestions as to how he or she might improve.  Try to agree on a solution. Always give an example.
  • Listen to the employee's point of view.  After explaining a concern, stop talking and start listening.  The employee's point of view could be something you haven't known or considered.
  • Give realistic ratings based on performance not personality.  Be honest by recognising strengths and weaknesses.  The weaknesses are usually opportunities for development, not reasons for criticism.
  • Always have documentation or clear examples to support a low rating. Look for a consistently low performance on the task, not a one-off occurrence.
  • Set realistic performance goals for the next review period.  These goals should be based on performance that you can reasonably expect to see improved.  Make sure that the results can be measured.
  • Employee respect for the process will be greater if you take an active interest between reviews.  If necessary, provide coaching, additional training, or some other help.  The process must not be just an annual event.
  • Keep records.  You and the employee should sign the review form.  Give the employee a copy and make sure that the original is filed.  This is evidence of your support and assistance for your employees.

Make the review a positive experience by using encouragement, praise, recognition, and congratulations, to acknowledge the person's effort, commitment and progress.  Listening, problem-solving and goal-setting can be used to recognise achievements and improve performance.  A positive approach and on-going support are the name of the game to developing employee potential.




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