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Jan Copley
Certified Practice Advisor
Atticus, Inc.

530 South Lake Avenue, Suite 250
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 696-3145
(626) 421-6747 (fax)

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Ugh! Performance Reviews

June 22, 2012

Filed under: Performance Reviews,Staffing — @ 8:00 am

When I was a salaried employee, I dreaded performance reviews. They happened irregularly and I was never really sure what was going to happen.

We all hate employee reviews. It never occurred to me that my bosses might dread reviews, too! Then, I opened my own firm and hired my own team members. It was then that I realized that everyone hates reviews. They’re hard, they’re uncomfortable, and too much — compensation, a person’s job — hangs in the balance.

You gotta do them. Yet, performance reviews are a necessary part of running a business. As a practice management coach, I often hear about my clients’ frustrations with their team members. Yet, when I ask if a client has spoken to the employee, I am very often told, “no.” If you haven’t said anything, how is the employee supposed to know there’s a problem?

Some tips for effective reviews. So, how do you make the whole process less painful for everyone involved? I have a couple of suggestions:

  • Have regular interim reviews. If you review someone’s performance regularly — on a quarterly basis, say — you and your employee won’t have the stress of attaching money to the conversation. This also allows you to correct performance issues before they become serious problems.
  • Base your reviews on objective criteria. If you are going to make judgments of someone’s performance, focus on things you can observe and document. Instead of asserting, “you’re using your lunch hour to get drunk,” say, “you’ve been late returning from lunch the last three Fridays.”
  • Have your employee measure his/her performance. Ask your team member how he/she would evaluate his/her performance. Your employee may have higher standards than you do!
  • Set measurable goals for future performance. It’s much more useful for you and your employee to know your expectations of each other, as well as how to measure those expectations. If you have employees who bill, one of the standards can be the number of hours billed. Look for ways to quantify other aspects of the employee’s job; ask the employee to help you develop appropriate measurements.

Please let me know how this helps you!