Your Mid-Summer Performance Management Guide

July means two things - 1) Hot weather, and 2) Mid-year performance reviews. For most managers, performance reviews aren't at the top of their favorite to-do list, but it doesn't have to be that way. Performance reviews provide an excellent opportunity to connect with your employees and set them on a career path with your company. Not doing them is not an option. Squash the excuses and bad habits and start preparing for mid-year performance reviews that benefit both of you and your employees.

Excuse #1: "Isn't one performance review a year enough?"

According to the American Management Association (AMA), employees need regular feedback on how they're doing, what they're doing well and what needs improvement. Schedule consistent meetings with your employees throughout the year. Make sure these meetings are a two-way conversation. After all, it is also your employees' opportunity to share their thoughts about their performance.

Excuse #2: "Reviews feel like a waste of time."

If you feel like you're spinning your wheels during performance reviews, it could be because you're not prepared. Do your homework ahead of time by reviewing the employees' files to familiarize yourself with their most recent activity, avoiding any redundancy.

Make an outline for the discussion to help keep the conversation on-track and use it to jot down notes during the conversation. As a bonus, you can use the outline as a reference for the next review.

Performance Reviews and Goal Setting

Excuse #3: "I don't want to be the bad guy."

Reviews shouldn't be used to point fingers but instead be a frank discussion about the employees' performance and abilities. It's best if the critiques you make about performance can be measured or at least be as specific as possible.

For example:

  • "You didn't meet last month's sales goal."
  • "You passed on five customer complaints to other employees."
  • "You lost your temper with another employee two months ago."

And don't "sugar coat" weaknesses with positives. For example:

  • "You are a strong writer, but your customer emails always miss the mark."
  • "I love your enthusiasm, but it can be distracting to your co-workers."

Keep the discussions about the employees' strengths separate to avoid confusion.

Excuse #4: "I'm not sure what should happen after the review."

Before the review is over, work with the employee to create an action plan for you both. The AMA suggests keeping the plan simple by including only three to four next steps. Make sure your employee has the support he or she needs from you to make sure the action plan succeeds.

Excuse #5: "It takes too long to update all the forms. I'm tired of the paperwork."

Investing time in your greatest assets (your employees) could be the most crucial element for success at your company. That being said - if performance reviews feel tedious and time-consuming, it's likely you're just not using the right tools.

Consider a cloud-based solution, such as a Performance Management Software, that updates automatically, eliminating the need for spreadsheets and paper. A tablet, computer or even a smart-phone is all a manager and employee needs to help employees feel heard and track feedback, without losing productivity.