Employee performance reviews are a very stressful time for managers, supervisors and employees. This paper identifies five major problems that managers and supervisors have when they conduct employee performance reviews. This paper will also provide helpful suggestions on how to correct and avoid the five major problems of employee performance reviews. There are specific things that supervisors and managers can do to motivate their employees year round and elevate the stress of the employee performance views.
Problems with Performance Reviews
Performance reviews are commonly approached with a high anxiety levels by both employees and managers. However, performance reviews are intended to motivate employees or team members to a work efficiently and effectively. They are also intended to improve the relationships between the employees and the managers. It is still a fact that the people receiving and giving appraisals find them to be very stressful. This is because the evaluation process always creates additional work for managers, and employees (Wolfe, 2004).
Managers have a tendency of procrastinating when it comes to getting ready for performance reviews because they can be a lot of extra work. Managers have a tendency to rush through the reviews to get them over with. This is not fair to the employees, and it can lead to bad morale even if the overall performance reviews are rated positively or high above average. A review that is done fast and careless sends a bad message to the employees and the business. The employee being reviewed will feel as though they are not important to their job or the business and that the manager does not care about them. When sitting and discussing the employee's strengths and weaknesses it can put both the supervisors and employees into a situations that most people find very uncomfortable (http://www.businesstown.com).
Large companies or corporations usually have very specific criteria for reviewing the performance of employees. Small companies or businesses usually let the individual managers decide on how they will perform their employee reviews. There are five major problems that managers have when conducting a performance reviews.
There is usually high inconsistency in performance rating scales. One supervisor would rate an employee a 7 out of 10 because the manager does not believe that anyone deserves a "10". Although another supervisor rates an employee higher than they deserve hoping this will increase the employee's confidence and their work performance. If the performance ratings of the employees are tied to a salary increases, this will create tension and conflict amongst the employees (http://www.businesstown.com).
When performance reviews are not provided regularly managers or supervisors have a tendency to only evaluate an employee's performance based on their most recent performance, not their performance over the course of the year (Wolfe, 2005).
Managers or supervisors are usually trying to complete the reviews as fast as possible and not properly going over the criteria with the employee. The employee leaves more confused then when the review started (Wolfe, 2004).
There has never been any official training for supervisors and managers on how to properly evaluate and conduct employee performance reviews.
Employers do not like to talk about employee compensation with performance reviews and try to avoid the topic at all costs (Wolfe, 2005).
Suggestions to Fix the Performance Review Problems
To eliminate the inconstancy with the performance scale (1 to 10) employers need to develop specific guidelines on how to evaluate and apply the scale to the employee's performance. By developing a guide on how to rate an employee it will provide a reference for managers and supervisors to be more consistent in employee ratings. The guideline will consist of specific goals meet by the employee, work habit, leadership and responsibilities. All performance reviewers must have training on how to implement and apply the performance scale to the performance reviews.
When employee performance reviews are not provided frequently or annually the reviews are usually based on the most recent performance of the employee and not their performance over the designated time between reviews. These results go both ways for the employees, the employees who act on their best behavior around employee review time have a tendency to get better ratings and the employees who have had a bad couple of weeks gets punished (Wolfe, 2004). To eliminate this problem managers and supervisors need to take notes about employee's performance through out the year. Most performance reviews involve a written and a verbal section, managers and supervisors need to start early on documenting their employees strengths and weaknesses. By doing this it will give the managers and supervisors a reference to look back on to fully evaluate the employee's full performance over the year and not just around review time (Messmer, 2007). This does create a little more work but it will make performance reviews go much smoother and will be fair to all employees.
There is a great need to eliminate the miss communication between the managers and their employees. One way to fix the miscommunication is by holding meetings with employees to go over their performance reviews which are more productive if the employee feels they are meaningful participants in the process. Many businesses ask for employee input by requiring the employees to complete a self-evaluation of their strengths and weaknesses and rate their performance over the year on a scale 1 to 10. When managers sit down with the employee to discuss their performance, the manager needs to be cautious not to dominate the meeting. The manager needs to listen and respond to the employee's perspectives on the evaluation points and feedback and other career related issues that the employee wants to bring up (Messmer, 2007).
One major problem with employee performance reviews is that the managers and supervisors conducting the employee reviews have had no official training. Performance review training will supply helpful suggestions to managers and supervisors on how to communicate, write and document performance reviews for their staff members. Training will also provide guidance on common mistakes to avoid and keys to successful performance reviews. Official training will help mangers and supervisors on how to clear up job responsibilities, while evaluating the employee's potential and contribution. They would also learn how to help their employees to properly prepare for the performance reviews (http://www.isi-elearning.com).
Numerous companies and businesses tie employee's salary increases to their performance ratings. Most employees want to know what their employee performance review will mean in conditions of advancement potential and compensation. Managers and supervisors need to provide their employees with as much detailed information as they can about how pay raises are going to be determined and what the employees can expect in the way of an increase. Employers will find that employees are more content with the performance review and the compensation process if they consider it to be transparent (Messmer, 2007).
In summary, the most important thing for businesses and companies need to concentrate on is having official training for the managers and supervisors who are performing these employee performance reviews. By not procrastinating about the performance reviews and taking notes on the employees performance through out the year will save time and the headache when employee performance reviews come due. Managers need to keep a good line of communication open between their staff and themselves. Managers should stress continuous improvement throughout the year, not just at employee review time. All employees must be evaluated equally and fairly, if there is any conflicting interests between an employee and a manager try to find another supervisor conduct the employee performance review.
BusinessTown.com, (2003). The Lowdown on Performance Reviews. Retrieved November 14, 2007, from BusinessTown.com Web site: http://www.businesstown.com
ISI eLearning Solutions, (2007). Performance Review Training . Retrieved November 15, 2007, from ISI Learning Solutions Web site: http://www.isi-elearning.com
Messmer, M (2007, December). Making Performance Reviews More Productive and Less Stressful. Business Credit, 109(10), 18.
Wolfe, I (2004, April). 21 Reasons Why Performance Reviews Fail. Retrieved November 14, 2007, from Success Performance Solutions Web site: http://www.super-solutions.com
Wolfe, I (2005, October 5). Ten Reasons Why Performance Reviews Fail. Retrieved November 14, 2007, from Success Performance Solutions Web site: http://www.supersolutions.com/WhyPerformanceReviewsFail_100505.asp