Performance Reviews are alive and well, however they have certainly had a bad rap lately. Before starting or reviving Performance Review for your organisation ask yourself and your senior leadership team the following questions. The answers to which will provide insight and will allow you to better align the outcomes to business needs.
- Why do them and what does your organisation gain from them?
- How do Performance Reviews align with the organisational strategies?
- Do managers clearly understand their role?
- Do you have a communication plan and change management plan in place
- Is there a clear escalation process of who to contact and for what reason
- Have you (or will you) run any trials with feedback for improvement
- What is in it for each stakeholder?
- Is HR prepared for the increase in workload?
- Do you have a clear, communicated plan with what you are going to do with the results?
- How does Performance Reviews impact or change any other processes already in place? E.g. employee development and training objectives
Reviving Your Existing Performance Reviews
1. High frequency informal check-ins
Encourage employees to be engaged with smaller ‘softer’ touch points with the process, on their own or with the manager. This keeps them thinking about objectives out of cycle and should be documented for ongoing check-ins.
- Employees stay focused on their objectives
- Managers provide early feedback to employees
- Time management, as these meetings are typically shorter than formal review meetings
- Avoid unexpected outcomes from the formal review meetings, as items have been already discussed
- Early recognition of high performing employees, and therefore recognition, retention and promotion opportunities
- Early identification of lower performing employees, and resulting action plans
Seek Limited’s article titled “How to make performance reviews work for you (and your employees)” supports this high frequency check-in approach with the added benefit of having no surprises for your staff.
2. Actionable outcomes
With a more frequent engagement between employees and managers, questions can be better targeted at what is important now. Employees develop a tighter bond with their personal goals, and this makes the performance review comments more actionable. Extracted data from KPI’s should be shared openly with specific actions. Humans are social, we love community and being a part of success and achievement
3. Refresh with a new name
To shake off the established negative mindset change what you call the review. Align the title with the answers to the initial question of why you we doing this. For example, if the aim is to encourage employees career aspirations within your organisation, call it “The Better Self Review”. For progressing skills sets to best make production objectives call it “Coaching Session”.
As an influential HR manager, your own personal enthusiasm for great reviews will inspire the people that you’re trying to revive with a fresh approach to an often damaged but essential process.
7 Easy Steps for Introducing a Performance Review Program
Below we’ve listed our steps for introducing a Performance Review program into your organisation.
- Define the purpose of the program, what you want it to achieve, and the desired outcome
- Alignment with the organisation’s objectives and culture
- Get support and commitment for the program from management & employees
- The method of evaluation needs to be understood, specific to jobs and as objective as possible
- Educate everybody about the program. Especially the why and how it is important.
- Allow an easy feedback and evaluation mechanism for the program
- Monitor the review program to check it is meeting its objectives
Setting and Measuring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
We particularly like Stacey’s article on “Answers to Your Biggest Performance Measure and KPI Questions” which contains many tips for immediate improvement, and to help you Get Started.
Fair Work Australia have also kindly provided a Performance document called “Suggested steps for developing a performance review discussion plan” which contains tips for before and after performance discussions and a suggested template for performance discussions.