Taking stock of your performance review process – HR Affiliates Blog
Performance reviews are typically used by companies to evaluate employees and make decisions regarding compensation, training, career development, and promotions. Lately, however, the focus has shifted away from a trail of documentation and toward providing feedback and coaching to aid employees in their development. As always, an efficient HR team is critical to the success of any performance management process.
Performance management systems generally follow three steps: goal setting, performance review, and a performance improvement process.
In most cases, the direct supervisor and employee will work together on setting job description goals, project goals, behavioral goals, and stretch goals. Ideally, an employee’s performance goals would be in line with the goals of the organization. Once set, these goals will be the standard against which an employee is evaluated.
Job description goals. These are the day-to-day responsibilities of an employee, goals that should be accomplished continuously unless the job description changes.
Project goals. Some goals are based on the success of a particular time-based project. The length of time will vary by project and goals can change as they are completed. Think of these as “what” needs to be accomplished.
Behavioral goals. Like job description goals, behavioral goals are a continual concern. Think of these as “how” things should be accomplished.
Stretch goals. These goals are generally considered to be more challenging and are used to improve the abilities of employees that management see as having high potential.
Assuming your company is doing it right, there should be few surprises in the formal performance review. To ensure an effective process:
- Provide thorough and frequent feedback.
- Discuss progress on previously set goals.
- Document that both parties have acknowledged the outcome of the review.
- The manager and employee should meet face-to-face at least yearly.
Performance improvement plans
Performance improvement plans (PIP) can be used for employees who are new to a role, have unclear expectations of their performance, or frequently fail to meet expectations. In the latter case, the PIP may be the first step in a progressive discipline process.
Documentation isn’t just helpful in these situations — it’s critical. It will guide your decision making and serves as legal documentation as well. For example, if the employee could be terminated for not meeting expectations, you should state that in the document and make certain the employee understands the consequences.
Communication is key
Even without the involvement of an HR team, management should put an emphasis on communication. Many performance issues can be avoided or fixed if managers and employees have honest two-way conversations about what is required of the employee.
For more information about effective management of employee performance, give us a call today.