May/June 2017

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36 / MAY.JUNE.2017 USICERINKS.COM I T'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN, when things slow down a bit and we find the time to do the annual perfor- mance reviews for all of our employees. Nobody seems to like them. In fact, many dread the thought of giving or receiving one. Then why do we do them? In a nutshell, performance reviews give employers the opportunity to assess their employees' job performances on a regular basis (annually, semi-annually, etc.). Based on those assessments, the employer can then reward and recognize those employ- ees who are meeting or exceeding work expectations and address the deficiencies of those who are not. This formal process then documents these results, where they are then placed in the employees' person- nel files for future use. Seems pretty straight forward, right? Then why the anxiety over them? First, managers and supervisors are put in a position of having to judge their employ- ees, and then document their assessments. This can sometimes be uncomfortable, especially when the employee is not in agreement. At the same time, employees have to endure this process, hoping that their assessment is a positive one, knowing that this will be part of their permanent file and may have an impact on their compen- sation and upward mobility. But in most cases, neither feels that their time is well spent and wish that there was a better way to provide and receive work-related feedback. Let's take a broader look at the performance review process and see if there are ways to turn a "necessary evil" into a pos- itive learning experience. SETTING EXPECTATIONS It's imperative from the get-go that employ- ees understand what is expected of them. Providing them with a job description which delineates their duties and responsibilities is the first step in setting expectations—but don't assume that they will read it. Review it with them, line by line, item by item. Make sure that they understand their role and for what responsibilities they are accountable. In addition, there should be a policy man- ual, mission statement or other background information which will give your employees a better understanding of what you expect of them. Some organizations will identify specific traits that they would like their employees to exemplify such as "teamwork", "leadership" and "ini- tiative." If you have set these standards in place, let your employees know that they will be evalu- ated accordingly. Also, during the review process, employee goals can be set—with identifiable and attainable objectives—with the purpose of attaining professional improvement for the and/ PERFORMANCE REVIEWS: Learning Opportunity or Necessary Evil? TO LESSEN THE STIGMA OF A FORMAL EVALUATION SESSION, REGULAR DISCUSSIONS DURING THE YEAR WITH OPEN DIALOGUE, INCLUDING BOTH PRAISE AND CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK, WILL GO A LONG WAY WITH YOUR EMPLOYEES. By BEN RUGGLES, CIRM, PMP

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