A performance review refers to a formal, in-depth assessment of an employee’s work performance over a specific period. In a performance review, managers are tasked to identify the employee’s strengths, weaknesses, and other areas for improvement. It also involves discussing feedback and setting new goals for the employee.
Although performance reviews are traditionally conducted twice or once per year, this will depend on the organization. Nowadays, more and more companies are moving towards frequent performance evaluations such as quarterly, monthly, some even weekly. Because some find performance reviews as traditional, formal, and stiff, some companies even opt to replace performance reviews with even more casual, one-on-one catch-ups and check-ins between manager and direct report.
Are there other terms for performance reviews?
Yes, a performance review is also called performance evaluation or performance appraisal.
Why are they important?
Performance reviews are essential in monitoring the work performance of employees. They are an avenue by which a manager can objectively evaluate an employee and inform them about how they are doing. Essentially, a performance review is an opportunity for the employee and manager to be on the same page. By identifying strengths and areas for improvement, both the manager and employee can provide feedback that can help the employee increase work productivity.
Many organizations involve the employee in the performance review by allowing them to conduct a self-evaluation before meeting with their manager. This way, the employee is given the chance to highlight their contributions and take note of any improvement and targets that were achieved during the given period. An employee can present their self-evaluation to the manager before the manager gives their review.
Regardless of the performance review method, the goal of performance reviews is to shed light on how the employee is performing their job duties, what they are great at, what they need to improve on, and what they can do to elevate their performance. Taking notes, identifying concerns, asking questions, and gaining support is what performance reviews are about. If done properly, performance reviews can be a catalyst for an employee to be motivated and do their best. And if employees do their best, targets will be achieved, and the company will thrive.
What are some helpful ways by which employees can prepare for a performance review?
Employees should be well-prepared for performance reviews. It is not something to take lightly because performance reviews are used by employers in considering promotions, employee rewards and recognition, and even bonuses. If you are an employee, here are some helpful ways to prepare for performance reviews.
Prepare ahead of time. Even if there is no definite date for a performance review, make notes as if you are evaluating yourself. Normally, one of the challenges of performance reviews is that employees lose track or forget about their past achievements and targets especially during self-evaluations. To prevent this, take note of things that you have done, achieved, or created. This way, you can review your notes when an actual performance review is scheduled.
Write down specific examples. In connection with the first point, write down specific examples of how you have improved and any work targets that you achieved or helped achieve. The more specific the example the better. This way, providing examples will not be a guessing game when performance review season comes.
Practice. Now that you have your notes, why don’t you have a mock self-evaluation? Identify your strengths, weaknesses, goals, and accomplishments.
Prepare questions. A performance review is an opportunity for you to ask your manager questions about business goals, targets, plans, and your work performance. It is a good idea to prepare questions ahead of time so that you won’t miss out on anything.
What are some helpful reminders for managers in conducting performance reviews?
Managers have a crucial role in making sure that a performance review is conducted professionally. While both the employee and the manager are involved in the performance review, it is essentially up to the manager to steer it in the right direction, keep it civil, and provide a safe space for the employee’s work performance to be discussed.
For managers, remember that a performance review is not meant to compare one employee with other employees. Just because one employee is doing better on the job than another does not warrant comparisons to be made during a performance review. Focus on the employee’s work performance. Identify their strengths and areas for improvement. Make sure to give specific and concrete examples so that the employee will not feel like they are being “attacked” or blindsided. Be as objective as possible.
Also, allow time for the employee to ask questions and discuss their concerns. Discuss what they can do in terms of aligning the business objectives with their daily tasks.
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