Studies have indicated most employees don’t like them.  People in management feel bogged down by them.  Some companies conduct them once a year at the same time, while others stick to the anniversary date of the employee.  And while many Managers simply write the review and give the employee a copy when they meet, a good number have their employees rate their own performance and present it to them for consideration before the review occurs.  It’s not easy writing meaningful reviews, although the process can be made easier.

Nothing Should Come as a Surprise

Regardless of your review process, there is one rule that everyone managing others should follow.  Points addressed in the review should never be a surprise.  If a member of your team needs improvement, the issues should be addressed at the time of, or within days of, the occurrence.  If someone exceeds your expectations, you should praise them for it at that time.  The review is meant to revisit key points that have already been addressed.

A System Making the Process Easier

Managers need a system that makes writing meaningful reviews as easy as possible.  I suggest stapling a sheet of paper inside the cover of each personnel folder at the beginning of their new review period.  Each time you see team members going above and beyond, note it on that sheet.  Likewise, if corrective action or discussions take place, note it there, as well.  When you go to write their review, everything is on that sheet of paper and you don’t have to try and remember what happened over the course of a year.

Isn’t That More Work??

I can hear the groaning now.  “Isn’t that more work??”  If you weigh the amount of time this process involves, versus the amount of time needed to recreate the wheel once a year, it isn’t significantly different, and the end result will be far more accurate and meaningful reviews.

The best way to form the habit is to put a post-it note on your monitor saying, ‘Add notes’, and then scheduling a set time to quickly review the day to see if any notes need to be added.  I liked to do this as one of the last things I took care of while winding down, just before leaving for the day.

Give What You’d Like to Receive

There’s nothing more disappointing than getting a review where none of the ways you contributed during the year, is acknowledged.  Give the type of review you’d like to receive, and your team members will know you acknowledge and truly appreciate all they’re doing throughout the year.




Subscribe to receive New Wing Tips—as an added bonus you'll get a custom spreadsheet to help managers calculate the cost of employee turnover!

You have Successfully Subscribed!