TriCom Technical Services

The Dirty “R” Word

In Advice, coworkers, Impressions, IT, IT/IS, jobs, mid-year, money, performance, review, reviews, summer, work on July 7, 2011 at 12:58 pm

As mid year approaches, all across America a collective groan is sounding as mid-year reviews are taking place.  Both employee and management alike look upon the monotonous task of filling out pages and pages of, “on a scale of one to ten…” with disdain and annoyance as those precious minutes are taken away from ‘real work’.  Nevertheless, is it possible that this lost art of performance reviews has gone astray thus losing its effectiveness?  That such a viable resource has been tainted as a “chore” rather than opportunity to build a company’s workforce and improve motivation?

“…87 percent of employees found traditional performance reviews to be ineffective…”
April 21, 2010, Financial Post

Too often companies take performance reviews a harsh necessity, a glass half empty approach.  If a company wants to succeed in the market, this is something that must be done.  Others view performance reviews as something put into place by the Human Resource department to give value to their roll.  Yet still, some view it as a tool to weed out employees during a harsh recession.  In many ways, such a negative stigma has been placed on this asset, losing any effectiveness to the company other than burning useful man hours.

Fear not!  The glass is half full!  The Performance Review is in fact helpful in improving your workforce and your company.  Knowing how to use such a key tool is important, but knowing how to utilize it properly will give you the desirable results.

“Human beings have a fundamental need to know how they are doing.  It’s a simply part of who we are and what we are about”
Jack Wiley, executive director of Kenexa Research Institute


Performance reviews are not a courtroom trial. The employee is not being judged innocent, to keep their job, or guilty, to be let go.  An effective way to look at performance reviews is as a relationship building tool as well as a competency assessment.  This is a chance to work with the employees for better team building, as well as receiving feedback from them. When putting together Performance Reviews consider these:

  • What are you, as the company, hoping to gain from the review?
  • What would you like the employee to gain from the review?
  • Is this clear, objective feedback or required and rushed?
  • Is the employee being graded, or building their ability to perform the work to the best of their ability?
  • Does the review create constructive dialog?
  • Does it involve setting clear, obtainable goals and expectations then reviewing them for accountability?
  • Are there surprises? Both parties should have an idea of what is coming in a review.
  • Are there “white lies”? Employees are entitled to know where they stand.
  • Emphasize the future, not the past.

All too often, performance reviews are spur-of-the-moment.  With so many people, and so little time, many feel the need to “get it over with”, seeing a chore, not a tool.  Performance reviews can be looked at like lawn mowing.  Sometimes it takes a while, especially with a push mower, and being out in the summer heat, it can be very tiresome.  But the end result is well worth the effort.  A fine manicured lawn can make a plain house seem immaculate.   Taking the time to properly discuss a review to your employees could be the difference between a disgruntled employee and a well constructed team that works well and grows well together.

When people are informed, have a common goal, and know how to reach the goal, they have the ability to achieve.  When a company has a well informed staff, with a common goal and a purpose to reach it, they have the ability to grow to no bounds.

So as the year crests and begins it’s lonely decent to the end, do not fret about the reviews.  Look forward to the opportunity to grow your workforce and strengthen the teams that will lead you into economic victory.

This guest post is authored by Lindsey Blakeman,
Customer Care Manager
at TriCom Technical Services



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