Preparing for performance reviews

Good planning, clear objectives and accurate role descriptions will help you use performance reviews to measure and improve your team's work. Effective performance reviews rely on good preparation. Taking the time to understand each team member's role, and defining your expectations and requirements, will help you and your staff get the most out of the review.

Articulate your goals

Write a clear description of your business's goals and objectives. Describe future directions for your business to help your staff understand and work towards your goals.

Write or review job descriptions

Set clear expectations for your team members by giving them a detailed description of their job and its duties.

Use staff job descriptions to define a set of goals and targets for each staff member. Ensure they are interested in working towards these goals as part of their job.

Define performance measures

Review the targets you have set for your team members and define a set of measures that will help you evaluate your staff's performance. These measures will allow you to identify performance problems and reward performance achievements.

Use a combination of measures relevant to the role to evaluate performance. Measures could include:

  • quantity – the number of product units processed, developed, sold or made each week (a product may be anything from a strategy document to a retail item, depending on the nature of the business and role)
  • quality – the number of units that failed to meet your quality standards (work rejected or redone)
  • positive feedback from customers— using customer satisfaction surveys and business records
  • timeliness – work performed efficiently within required business time frames
  • cost-effectiveness – the value of financial benefits secured by the team member measured against the costs involved in securing those benefits
  • absenteeism – number of days absent from work
  • tardiness – lateness to work; missed work deadlines
  • creativity – creative approaches to achieving results that are consistent with business values
  • behaviours that harm the workplace environment – such as gossip, patterns of criticism and negativity, argumentative or confrontational behaviour
  • personal appearance and grooming – dress and personal grooming habits suitable to the workplace and type of customers
  • adherence to policy – performance consistent with the values and objectives of the business
  • appraisals – assessments by the manager, team members, peers and self.

Develop a review document

Design an evaluation form that helps you clarify the review process for staff and capture information in staff reviews. Your form should clearly communicate goals, job descriptions, requirements and measures, and include space for making notes and comments and assigning ratings.

Review staff records

Ask your management team for any documented critical incidents – both positive and negative – involving your staff. You may also want to review customer complaint and feedback records to see how  customers find your staff.

Encourage staff self-reflection

Ask your staff to prepare for the session by reflecting on and evaluating their own performance. For example, have each staff member and assessor rate the staff member's performance to see if their scores match up.

Also consider...