Part of the problem with employee performance reviews is that they are often seen as obligations, not employee development tools.
They’re frequently repetitive, bland, and viewed as time-consuming.
Yet we know that thoughtful reviews make a big difference when they focus on what an employee can do to improve in the coming year.
Sure, every review has to have the nuts and bolts – listing the employee’s duties and responsibilities and a rating of how well they did them.
But while the employee’s ability is essential, there are other valuable traits that generally don’t make it into reviews.
And they’re just as important if the goal is to help your employee blossom.
So what have we been leaving out?
Here are 5 things we’re not telling employees in their performance reviews that we should add to the mix of performance measures:
1) Do They Embrace Teamwork?
Teamwork is more than a cheesy buzzword. Everyone knows the disaster that can befall a sports team when one or more of its players act out against the best interests of the entire squad.
Employees who are true team players often are the difference in how smoothly your department runs. They don’t pout when they don’t get their way, they offer to help someone else with a difficult task rather than gripe behind their back, and they respect your word.
In other words, team players are valuable. So let them know it.
2) Do They Have Resilience?
When you need to let your employees know when they’ve come up short, what you hope for is that they won’t fall apart if you ask them to correct or fix something.
Bouncing back from mistakes or setbacks without withering is a mark of maturity.
Most managers agree that employees with this quality make our jobs easier. They keep therapeutic “I’m Ok, you’re OK” counseling sessions to a minimum.
So cite specific examples in performance reviews of how and when employees showed resilience – and they’ll likely keep it up.
3) Do They Actually Listen?
We all know employees who seem to pride themselves on paying attention – only to forget everything we said later, or do the exact opposite of what we told them to do.
Listening is the easy part. Most employees hear what you’re saying. But truly comprehending what we’re asking – and following up on it – is a critical part of a good manager-employee relationship.
Let your employees know you notice – appreciate – when they not only listen to your directives but also act on them.
4) Are They Quick Learners?
Being a quick study isn’t a trait every employee is blessed with.
Some need more guidance than others. But when employees stand out for being fast masters of new tasks, compliment them on it.
Employees like this can help train new hires – which makes your life easier.
So note when a quick-learning employee steps up to help teach others the ropes.
5) Are They Creative Thinkers?
There are times when your team needs to come up with new ideas fast.
Employees who aren’t shy about venturing a new idea or proposal (even if it’s something that might not work in the long run) are invaluable. Particularly at companies that place an emphasis on growth and innovation.
When employees can think outside the norm and have the moxie to speak up, it can get everyone else’s creative engines going. And in the long term, they make you and your team look good.
Tell them in their reviews that you appreciate those ideas and their confidence in sharing them.
The Bottom Line
Remember the cardinal rule of performance reviews. They are about the employee. Not you or upper management. The goal is to help the employee improve.
Employees deserve the effort we put into their reviews. Reviews may be a chore, but we need to demonstrate to employees that we put thought into what makes them valued.
No More Waste-of-Time Performance Reviews
We know a lot of companies require you to use a standard form or rating system. You can’t go rogue and completely buck the system. But good managers – Resourceful Managers – can turn a flawed system into a positive with some leeway, ingenuity and a clear Blueprint for success.
The guidance in the Performance Review Blueprint is designed to do just that. Help you improve your performance review process, regardless of the system – and the Blueprint can work hand-in-hand with your company-mandated approach.