Posted on / Updated on / in Blog & Human Resources Consulting /

One of the most requested topics our human resource consulting firm is asked to speak on is performance management. I know, I know – just the thought of performance evaluations and year end reviews is enough to send otherwise normal people over the edge.

The good news is help is available. Following are tips from our human resource consultants how to “ease the pain” of performance management:

  • Communication is key! This is the one time surprises are not good. Employees deserve (and want!) to know on a regular basis how they are performing. Without proper feedback, employees cannot change what they are doing or how they are behaving. Remember: if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’re going to keep getting what you’ve always gotten!
  • Consider keeping evaluations and raises separate. Depending on the organization’s compensation strategy, tying the two together can be a de-motivator for employees. For example, you have an employee who performing at a superior level, but due to poor company financials, raises are frozen. If your employees’ associate raises with performance, the superior review is overshadowed by the lack of a raise.
  • Document, document, document! This is true for positive and negative situations. Most reviews are given on an annual basis and without proper documentation — it will be impossible for supervisors to remember in December what occurred in January. Having a good tracking system and being able to reference files ensures a more accurate review (and helps the company in cases of termination justification).
  • Establish Goals.  A good performance management program includes goals for employees to work toward each year. For long time employees, even good reviews are demotivating when they say the same thing year after year.  (“Is anyone really paying attention to what I do?”)  At review time, you can discuss whether or not they’ve reached their goals, what helped, what got in their way, and what goals they want to shoot for in the coming year.  Have employees involved in setting their own goals, too, so that they have buy-in to what the company is trying to achieve.
  • Have a method to the madness. Don’t jump right in and tell the person what a horrible job they’ve been doing. Start the conversation in a positive light, hit them with the negatives and with suggestions on how they can improve, and then end with another positive comment. You are still able to get your point across, but it’s easier for the employee to digest.

Submitted by the Human Resources Consultants of IntegrityHR, Inc.

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about the author: Amy Letke

Amy Newbanks Letke, SPHR, GPHR, is the Founder of Integrity HR, Inc. Amy provides workplace solutions to improve performance, reduce liability and increase profits. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve success.