Top Ten Tips for Effective Employee Performance Reviews
Posted March 22, 2012

  1. Dump the numbers! Consider scrapping any number system and cover issues with substantive essay-style comments.
  2. If you must keep the numbers, avoid averaging the numbers and require those essay-style comments, particularly if the employee doesn’t receive the highest rating.
  3. When a supervisor does make a comment, require at least one or two examples to support the comment.
  4. If you don’t have a performance review system, or are having trouble getting your supervisors to follow through, have them focus initially only on the bottom performers. There is nothing that requires you to review everyone. This would at least be a start.
  5. Have someone in HR or a fellow manager take a look at your draft review for your more difficult employee situations. They may spot holes in your review, such as failing to include examples on a particular category.
  6. Before reviewing an employee, look at last year’s review and see what the baseline may be for this year’s review.
  7. Come up with specific questions for the employee to answer in writing before the review begins. They might include, “How have you saved us money?”, “How did you help build your team?”, “How did you build communication between your department and at least one other department in the company?”, “What 1-3 specific goals do you have for this coming year?”
  8. Encourage your supervisors to avoid grade inflation (which is rampant). It will hurt you later if the employee brings a claim.
  9. Consider using the job description at the review as a template for evaluating the effectiveness of the employee’s performance.
  10. Consider having a new supervisor prepare a 90 day “overview” review of the supervisor’s department, to set expectations and begin moving the group to a new level. Waiting until the employees’ individual reviews might be counterproductive and waste valuable time.

For further information regarding effective performance reviews, contact one of our employment law attorneys. Join our mailing list to receive invitations to our monthly seminars on employment law topics.