Conducting Year-End Reviews

Here’s a little HR humor for you:

How are employee reviews and fruitcakes alike?

They both come once a year, whether you want them to or not.

Kidding aside, year-end employee reviews are a fundamental tool to help you maximize the potential of your most valuable asset – your people!  Reviews allow you to critically examine employees’ performance, discuss opportunities for improvement, set new goals for the coming year and get invaluable feedback from your staff.

But that doesn’t mean managers enjoy them.

So if, like countless other HR professionals, you dread the review process as much as eating a slice of suspiciously colorful, candied-fruit-laden cake, PrideStaff can help.  Here are a few practical ideas for making your year-end reviews more organized, constructive and motivating:

Plan ahead.  The typical full-time employee works 2,080 hours a year.  As a result, it’s nearly impossible to remember what each staff member has accomplished over 12 months.  So as you progress through the year, keep a record of specific examples of good and bad performance for each employee.  When review time comes around, having this information will put you ahead of the game – and convey to your employees that you’ve been watching, noticing and appreciating their hard work all year long.

Ask employees to plan ahead, too.  Give your employees at least a few weeks’ notice – and give them homework.  Make sure they know that you’ll be asking them to talk about their own strengths and areas for improvement.  To help them prepare, provide each with a copy of your appraisal form so that they can read it, reflect on their accomplishments (or shortcomings) and create growth goals for the coming year.

Describe behaviors and actions.  Simply telling an employee that he did a “good job” is not enough to support his continued growth.  To get the most from a worker in the year ahead, provide feedback that is measurable, specific and action-oriented.  Instead of telling him to “improve productivity,” establish exactly when, how, why and where you’d like him to be more productive: “I’d like to see you increase your daily productivity this year by 10 percent, by delegating more administrative tasks to your team’s secretary.”

Be honest and strive for balance.  When you have to present negative feedback, focus on the behavior – not the employee.  Use the experience as a teaching opportunity, from which the employee can learn and grow.   Most of all, focus on accomplishments as much as mistakes.  Honesty is critical, but so is presenting balanced feedback that is both constructive and motivating.

Alter review timing or frequency.  Like fruitcakes, reviews tend to fall during the holidays – a time when work has piled up and employee stress levels are high.  To improve your process in the coming year, consider bumping it up a month.  This way, you can wrap-up reviews before end-of-year craziness hits. 

Alternately, you can break annual reviews into smaller, more frequent meetings (semi-annual or quarterly).  Reviewing performance more often shortens both prep time and the length of each review (since you only have three or six months to cover, instead of 12), and allows you to give more timely – and therefore impactful – feedback.

Better Hires Mean Better Year-End Reviews 

When you hire better, your employees hit their goals.  And when your employees hit their goals, your annual performance reviews are easier.  It’s that simple. 

PrideStaff can help you hire smarter.  We combine the resources of a large, national staffing agency with unsurpassed local market knowledge.  The result?  We deliver consistently exceptional candidates who meet or exceed your expectations.  Contact your local PrideStaff office today to learn more about our direct placement services.