Performance Review Strategies for the 2020s

No one enjoys performance reviews – neither managers nor workers. But when done well, they truly can help a supervisor gauge a person’s progress, or lack thereof.

Here are a few strategies to use to make your performance reviews as effective as possible.

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  1. Set an agenda for the meeting.

Begin the meeting by letting the employee know what you will be talking about, so the person knows what is coming. For example, you can tell the employee that you will first talk about how their job has been going, then about areas where he or she can improve or grow, and then things you both can do to make the job more meaningful for the person.

Also during the meeting, you should take notes of everything that was covered. These can be very helpful going forward if there is any question about what was discussed or agreed upon.

  1. Ask for the worker’s opinion.

Before you begin the review, get input from the employee. Find out how they think the job is going. Giving the person the opportunity to express their opinion will help get the meeting off to a good start. It will also help to give you an idea of the employee’s mindset and attitude.

Indeed, the employee may volunteer information about where they can improve and new projects he would like to undertake.

  1. Give positive feedback.

Again, it helps to begin by giving positive feedback to the worker so that they know their work is recognized and valued. Be as specific as possible. For example, if the person has done a good job completing a particular project or handling a tricky negotiation, you should let them know about it.

  1. Talk about ways to grow in the job.

No matter how well someone is doing in a job, there are always areas where they can improve. And you are not doing your job as a supervisor if you are not helping your people grow in their jobs. You have to think about what the person can do to prepare for positions they would like to hold in the future.

What skills does the person need to grow in the job, and what can you do to help the person acquire those skills?

Conversely, if the person is struggling, you would focus on giving them useful feedback. The focus would be on the skills the person should be building in order to improve their performance. You should be able to provide specific examples of how the person can make improvements

  1. Talk about future goals.

You also need to talk about where the person is headed. Are they looking for a promotion? Are you planning on assigning them to a new project? What performance issues need to be addressed if the person is to succeed with the company in the long term?

  1. Ask questions.

Finally, come back around to the employee’s opinions. Go into more detail about the opinions they expressed earlier in the review. Probe a little more deeply. Ask how they feel about the job, what is going well and what isn’t. Find out what kinds of goals they have.

The employee may have touched on these issues earlier, but it is always good idea to delve a little more deeply. Allowing the worker to express their feelings will help with engagement and productivity.

Traditionally, employee performance reviews have been held once a year. But many companies now realize that such meetings need to be held more often, at least several times during the year, if they are to be of real use to everyone involved. Ideally, managerial feedback should be an ongoing process.

If your company needs to replace an employee due to performance issues, contact the the Helpmates branch nearest you to learn more about our recruiting and placement services.

Helping Your Employees with Their Back-to-School Blues

Back to school is here! Children abandon playgrounds, the beach and video games and return to the classroom. It’s a big change not just for kids but for working parents as well, requiring parents to adjust their schedules for things such as taking children to school, attending parent-teacher meetings, school open houses, sporting events, and other extracurricular activities, as well as volunteering to help out with school-related activities.

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Both parents work in about two-thirds of all households with children, and they spend more time caring for their children than earlier generations.  In a survey of 1,000 working parents, 85 percent said they were surprised by the challenges that arose when their kids returned to school, with the challenge cited by most parents as being home when their children returned from school. Other concerns included attending school activities and meeting other parents.

It’s no surprise that stress levels for parents jump when kids return to school. What makes matters even worse is that there is little allowance made by employers to help parents through this more hectic period, as surveys have shown. But there are things employers can do to assist their workers in handling the return to school, not only helping workers but themselves as well — accommodating employees helps with morale and retention.

Flexibility

One of the primary ways employers can help is by putting flexible scheduling practices in place. For many parents, flexible scheduling isn’t just something that is nice to have, but essential for them to maintain a good work-life balance, to meet their obligations to both their work and family. Flexible schedules help both employers as well as employees.

For example, flexible scheduling and allowing an employee to work remotely would enable a parent to leave work early to attend a conference with a teacher and then finish a project at home afterward.

But for flexible scheduling to work well, it requires good communication between managers and employees as workers’ schedules change depending on school events or other obligations.

Scheduling Work Events

Another way employers can accommodate parents of school-age children is by planning work events during the day, rather than after work. For example, social events such as employee happy hours, team dinners or workshops can be scheduled earlier in the day to allow parents time to pick up children from school or other school-related activities.

Instead of beginning happy hour at 5:00, companies can start at 4:00, team dinners can become team lunches, and workshops can end a little earlier.

A Culture That Values Work-Life Balance

Enabling all workers to have a healthy work-life balance is important. It helps with employee morale, productivity, and retention, and so should be a part of the company culture. Companies need to show they value a good work-life balance by incorporating events for employees and their families as part of the company operations, for example, with company picnics or holiday parties.

Communication and Feedback

To determine the effectiveness of flexible scheduling, supervisors need to solicit ongoing feedback from workers. To do this, the company can send out short surveys to employees, allowing them to respond anonymously with comments and suggestions.

Company leaders can also lend their support by showing they recognize the challenges parents face. Managers can do this through emails, even discussing how they handle the demands of parenting and school.

Need someone to come in for even just a couple of hours one or two days a week in order to help a working parent attend a school function, or stay home with a sick child? Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you, let us know the skills you need and we’ll send you a talented temporary associate!

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