It’s that time of year. The awkward, uncomfortable, excruciating time of year, when you’re forced to drop many of the natural rules of civility and decorum, and tell the people you spend most of your waking hours with what you really think of them.
That’s right: year-end review time! And you’re not even allowed to feel bad about the process, because as painful and unpleasant as it is for you, it is significantly worse for the people you are reviewing.
Not only is it a time of potential criticism for them, but the judgments you make can impact your team members in material ways (like the determination of bonuses and future raises).
However, there are ways to make the process more humane, and ultimately more productive. Here are a few steps you can take to make the review nightmare more tolerable, and significantly more constructive:
Communication, Not Judgment
The year-end review should not devolve into a combative experience. Similarly, it should not consist of a litany of the employee’s faults. Instead, the goal should be to create a situation where employees can improve and grow. You want them to thrive (it’s best for them – and it’s best for the company – when they do well).
So, keep the process as constructive. Concentrate on building strengths and outlining successes. When it’s time to note some areas that require improvement, do so with compassion and understanding.
Talk About the Future
Don’t harp on the past. Obviously, the year-end review includes a performance evaluation (clearly a backward-looking exercise). But, it also represents a great opportunity to discuss the future.
This includes the employee’s near-term future, like the aspects you’d like them to improve and their goals for the coming year. But it can also include their long-term future. Discuss where you potentially see them years down the road.
Also, take time to create a vision for the future of the company as a whole. The year-end review is a great place to lay out corporate goals and implement any changes in outlook or strategy.
Don’t just make the review process about the individual employee. Personal achievement is influenced by numerous situational factors, including co-workers the employee works with on a regular basis.
The goals laid out at an employee review, almost by definition, can’t just center on that employee. They must, to some extent, involve the other members of their team.
Keep that in mind, both in evaluating the employee’s performance (how well did they perform given their teammates) and in setting goals for the future.
Clear Criteria for Compensation
If your year-end reviews are tied to changes in compensation (things like raises or bonuses), make sure the process for determining them is very clear. Use quantitative measures wherever possible.
Compensation decisions can be controversial, but people are more likely to accept them, even disappointing ones, if they perceive the process as being inherently fair.
Evaluations go both ways. The year-end review allows you to evaluate workers, enforce standards, encourage improvement and set goals for the future. It also allows you to learn how you can improve your leadership as well.
Elicit feedback from your staff while you do the evaluations. This will help defuse some of the natural tension of the process (they get a chance to give some evaluation of their own). It will also allow you to improve over the long term.
Partners with a Staffing Agency in Flint, MI!
Year-end reviews become much more enjoyable when you have great employees. By partnering with a great staffing firm, like Qualified Staffing, you ensure your staff is the kind that always gets top marks. Contact Qualified Staffing today to learn more.