Performance reviews are not the favorite functions of many managers. Employees who receive them often aren’t tickled either.

But written records are important in human resources.

For such managers, a focused effort is needed to make certain employees understand their status and how they can improve.

Here’s how:

1. Review the entire evaluation period.

Don’t wait until the last minute. You should have a written record of the employees’ performance for the entire period.

Otherwise, you risk an inaccurate review. Employees are apt to be on their best behavior just before the anticipated review. That doesn’t not help the employees nor does it help your organization.


Document Employee Behavior to Withstand Legal Scrutiny


So, take notes on a frequent basis. Engage your employees about your concerns and praises.

For minor infractions, share your observations and put a note with dates and times in a temporary file. For major concerns, insert your notes in the employees permanent HR file.

For an effective review, refer to all your notes. Look at the big picture and review how employees help and hurt the organization.

2. Be 100-percent objective.

Don’t be afraid to deliver negative evaluations. Many managers are people-pleasers. They’re afraid of how employees will react to criticism.

If you sugar-coat the feedback, you’ll never achieve maximum results.

In citing specific instances, tell employees if they’re not following policy. If employees aren’t sure about policies, they should ask for guidance. If necessary, remind them of their responsibility to ask.

3. Focus strictly on required duties and responsibilities.

Don’t stray from the subject. Some managers errantly miss the mark by commenting on personality traits and attitudes. That’s a no-no.


Management: Coach Your Employees to Better Performance


You’ll be seen as intrusive and overreaching.

For example, if the employees show up late for work. Don’t try to guess why or tell them they’ve got a bad attitude and take their job for granted.

Just explain when and what the employees do that require improvement.

4. Give a balanced review and don’t ignore strengths.

If you don’t acknowledge instances of positive performance, in essence you’ll be guilty of discrimination.

You’ll appear to be picking on employees.


HR: Avoid Bias in Evaluating Top Employees Who Backslide


Moreover, you’ll hurt the morale of the workers. You need to praise them when feasible to encourage good performance.

5. Don’t be nebulous in your wording.

If you’re too abstract, employees won’t understand your meaning. Employees won’t understand what they need to do for improvement.

So, pinpoint exactly what you mean – specify what’s positive and negative and how employees can improve. In other words, paint an accurate picture of what a good performance looks like.

From the Coach’s Corner, editor’s picks:

Human Resources: 12 Errors to Avoid in Evaluations — How should you properly evaluate employees? Make sure you are careful to avoid errors in evaluations. Naturally, you want to praise good performance and discourage bad. What are the best ways? Here’s how to avoid making those classic mistakes.

Employee Records: Which Ones to Save and for How Long — You don’t want to keep unnecessary employee records. Nor do you want to make a rash decision on whether to destroy records. Here are the laws you need to know.

Dos and Don’ts for Giving Effective Performance Reviews  — To improve communication, performance and productivity, effective performance reviews with balanced critical feedback will improve your bottom line.

HR – Components of a Personal Improvement Plan — With employees who perform unsatisfactorily, it’s time to take action. To give them opportunities to succeed, the customary tactic is a PIP. Here’s how.

Vital Strategies to Avoid EEOC Discrimination Suits — Federal employment discrimination complaints are sky-high — a sad commentary for businesses and public agencies that are large enough for a human resources department. Here’s what you need to know.

“It is important to let every employee know where he or she stands throughout his or her time in your business; I would suggest every quarter of the fiscal year. By being honest and open with each team member and their performance, you create value in their efforts.”

-Clay Clark


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.