6 Tips for a Better Annual Review

Its that time of year again when most companies – for better or worse – conduct their Annual Performance Reviews.   And though most HR professionals would happily tell you to do away with performance reviews and instead focus on performance management, we know plenty of businesses will be conducting this process much to everyone’s chagrin.  In light of this, we bring you our 5 Steps for a Better Annual Process:

  1. Make sure its relevant to the company’s goals: And make sure you’ve communicated those goals to your employees.  Like Nathaniel at Rypple says, “How can an employee be productive if she doesn’t know where to focus her efforts? Clearly defined company goals increases motivation and engagement.
  2. Keep it Simple Silly: I don’t know how many annual review worksheets I’ve filled out that seemingly went on and on and kept asking slight variations of the same questions.  Its poorly executed performance reviews that have dragged the whole process down, and resulted in books like “Perfect Phrases for Performance Reviews”  (Please don’t purchase it)
  3. Go all electronic on the cheap; use Google Docs, Wufoo, Survey Monkey to collect data.  Save yourself a papercut or two and put your worksheets online.  You can use a number of online tools for free or cheap and the tools are pretty easy to work with.
  4. Train the managers so they understand why its important, and be consistent with ratings. Nothing kills the process faster than a manager who doesn’t provide good feedback – like using that book I won’t mention again.  Talk to your managers, and make sure to discuss scoring so everyone is consistent.
  5. Consider a platform provider: Companies like Halogen have put together very dynamic performance review platforms so you can build all the forms online, do the review process, and run all the calculations in a streamlined process.  Its not right for every company, but might be a good fit for you.
  6. Set achievable goals: too often we set “wishful thinking” goals for staff during the performance review – use real numbers and metrics and only set goals for things an employee can positively impact without tripping over 10 stumbling blocks along the way.  Don’t leave the door open for excuses by setting a goal around a business activity that is fraught with broken systems and processes – it is not only a waste of time but incredibly de-motivating for your employee.

We have two more posts coming this week about the annual performance review; including tips for managers, and some smart alternatives to the whole process.

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