With the beginning of each year comes a time when managers need to prepare and deliver employee reviews. This fairly predictive process requires employees to write down their strong sides, along with the job aspects that need improvement. Then managers write their assessments, deliver feedback, rate employees' performance, and determine to what extent employees met the expectations.
Managers hope that by doing this, they’ll motivate top performers to carry on producing outstanding results. And that these reports will provide guidance for those whose performance needs improvement.
But more often than not, it’s not the case. Because the traditional performance evaluation process is based on practices that may be vague, ambiguous, and susceptible to bias.
The problem is that most performance evaluation forms offer managers open-ended, vague and general questions. Simply put they lack structure. And many studies show that without structure managers tend to deliver feedback susceptible to gender and race discrimination, or favoritism.
This feedback is not only ineffective, but also insulting and derogatory, driving employees to disengage and finally quit in a search for more supportive and appreciative work environments.
So what can you do to offer a well-structured, objective, and specific employee review?
You can use some tips suggested below and rely on advanced solutions for employee tracking to give you in-depth insight into the way your employees perform on daily basis. The monitoring data will show the time your employees spend on their tasks and projects labeling it productive, unproductive, or idle. And this is just one of the numerous insights you can get from this tool that can paint a more accurate, real-time picture of employee performance.
Determine Clear Criteria for Performance Evaluation
Open-ended questions are often general because they need to refer to all employees. They also offer opportunities for different interpretations and biases because you can’t relate them to any specific performance criterion.
Some analyses have shown that women tend to get shorter feedback without specifying what things they do well, or guidelines on how to improve performance.
At the same time, managers tend to give longer performance evaluations to their male employees focusing on their technical skills and giving them tips on how to improve.
If you don’t want to fall into this trap and provide all your employees with a leveled playing field in a performance evaluation process, create a list of criteria related to expected outcomes and significant performance metrics focusing on employees’ outcomes.
Some of these include revenue per employee, human capital ROI, employee absenteeism rate, or overtime hours. Data collected via employee monitoring can be of great help here, showing you how many hours each of our employees spent working and how productive they were.
Be More Specific When Delivering Feedback
Nowadays, employees seek more frequent feedback from their managers. This is especially true for Millennials who crave instant gratification and want to know what they excel at. They also want to know what prevents them from being highly productive so that they can tackle these issues and reach set goals.
So vague and cryptic feedback like “You had a great year” won’t cut it.
Luckily, employee tracker data can show the apps and websites your employees are using while working on different tasks and projects. This information can help you identify the job aspects where your employees are highly efficient and pinpoint issues they may struggle with in real time.
You don’t have to wait for annual performance reviews to show this data to your employees. You can receive weekly, monthly, or even daily monitoring reports and use them in your one-on-one meetings to recognize outstanding work or give tips to help employees improve their performance.
Foster Transparency and Empathy
Delivering and receiving employee reviews is usually stressful for managers and employees alike. Especially in companies where employee performance evaluation is directly related to compensation or even termination.
Managers also dread giving feedback to employees for numerous reasons. One of them is because they are struggling with communicating core messages the right way. But if you want to decrease stress and anxiety levels during feedback meetings, try to be transparent and emphatic.
Make sure that employee is getting performance assessment in one-on-one meetings in a psychologically safe environment where they can speak freely about specific feedback aspects and get honest answers.
When you need to deliver negative feedback, try to turn it into constructive criticism, suggesting specific steps employees can take to become more productive. Lead with empathy and let your employees feel heard and appreciated.
Make Performance Evaluation a Continuous Process
Traditional annual employee performance assessments are vague, ineffective, and focused on the past not having a clear purpose or outcomes. For these reasons more and more employees demand more frequent, actionable feedback.
This request has climbed to the top of the list when it comes to choosing a workplace. So if you want to retain overachievers and attract top talent in the tight market, look at performance evaluation as a continuous process rather than a one-time event.
You can use employee monitoring data in your team's weekly meetings to recognize employees' recent achievements or find solutions for potential issues that stifle their performance.
It’s not surprising that both managers and employees dread annual performance reviews.
They can be:
These are all relevant reasons for thinking of reinventing the entire process, adjusting it to the current circumstances of the changed workplace and the needs of your employees, and fostering a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Advanced tools like employee tracker can offer detailed real-time information about employee performance, allowing you to create more specific, objective, and purposeful feedback.
If you turn employee feedback into a continuous rather than a one-time event, using it to recognize outstanding achievements or provide clear steps towards improvement, you may change the way you and your employees feel about it.
Data-based, accurate, timely, and objective performance evaluations can be the key to keeping your retention rates high and attracting top talent.