Employee Review Pitfalls

Employee Review Pitfalls

Don't fall into these traps when doing reviews

In most organizations, the annual employee review is just a process that must be suffered through; however, this does not have to be. There are many examples of how the employee review process can be completed without making the process burdensome on everyone involved. The issue at hand is twofold. Employees want or need to know how they are performing and progressing in their role. Managers and your leadership, need to know how employees are performing for both compensation and ROI. As a manager, it is your job to perform this evaluation. Here are a few pitfalls to avoid:

Playing favorites
We have all been in this position, where you are either the boss's favorite or you are not. When it comes to reviews, playing favorites will never work out well. When a boss has a favorite, everyone knows it and this relationship will hinder the performance of the other employees. Who wants to bust their hump, only not to be recognized? At some point, you say, "why bother?" Playing favorites, potentially causes good employees to never become great employees. When doing performance reviews, it is important to review everyone fairly and equally. If Tommy always gets the work done on time and correctly, then his review should reflect this. If he doesn't, then his review should reflect that as well. When you give someone a better score because they are your favorite, you are not helping them grow in their position and you are eroding away your team.

Not keeping notes
Some managers are really good at keeping track of the highs and lows of an employee’s performance and some are not. Don’t get trapped at the end of the year with nothing to write down for an employee review. Keep track of an employee’s progress, either in a computer file or old school method, written on a piece of paper in their employee file. Keeping notes will essentially allow the review to write itself and you won’t be stuck reviewing the last two weeks of an employee’s performance.

Giving everyone the same review
Have you ever had to get five or ten reviews completed and suddenly they are due. As painful as it may be to complete them, get them done and make them individual. Don’t be a lazy manager and change a few minor details and give everyone the same review. Doing this does not allow your superstars to be recognized for the great work they did and it allows your under-performers to think they are good at the job. This will come back to haunt you, if you suddenly want to terminate an under-performer, but the review is better than they are.  

Having your employee write the review
Asking an employee to write their own review is not referring to a 360 degree review process where they employee completes their self-evaluation. This is referring to you as a boss, being lazy and not wanting to do your job, so you have your employees do it for you. Most employees will be harder on themselves than you would ever be, but employees really want to know how you, as the supervisor feels about their performance.

Skipping the whole process
Although, in the end, your employees may just want to know how much of a raise they are getting. Not completing the review, sends a message to your staff that performance is not important and that it doesn't matter if you do a good job or not, you will still get a raise. This is very harmful to your superstars, wanting or needing to know where they stand. This will cause your superstars to leave your department or organization.

Doing the review late
Life happens and it is not always possible to get all the work completed. Many organizations have very specific deadlines and processes in place for employee reviews and what has to happen if a review is late. A late review says to the employees you don’t really care about them or their performance. If you do care about your employees and a review is going to be late, then let the employees know what’s going on, so they don’t feel like you don’t care. Late reviews create problems for other departments as well. Payroll potentially will have to figure out back-pay and if your organization requires a current review to enable a promotion, you could potentially be delaying that process as well.

When it comes to employee reviews, create a plan and stick to it. As painful as it may seem, having a plan will help the entire process and your employees will be better for it. Don’t fall into these pitfalls and your employee performance management process will be better for it.

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