The Review Process, Part II
No matter what approach to the performance review process
you adopt, you’ll want to be able to measure the results and change the
procedure as necessary during each review cycle.
To do this, you may want to begin by gathering brief survey
information a few months after each review period, possibly by conducting an
informal meeting with a randomly selected group of department managers. Without
going into excessive detail, ask your managers about the most useful and least
useful features of your existing review process. The answers they provide will
give you a place to begin as you adjust your company’s approach.
If your managers tell you that the review process is too
lengthy or tedious, take this into account. A lengthy, tedious process may be
costly, but you may determine later that the resulting improvements in employee
performance are worth the cost. If your managers tell you that the review
standards are too high, too low, or too ambiguous to be useful, take this into
account as well.
If employees are given a 1-10 rating for each item on a list
of performance criteria, your mangers will need to understand what a rating of
five really means. Employees who simply show up for work every day should not
be praised, but employees who are late once a year should not be subjected to
criticism that may undermine morale.
Ambiguous or abstract standards may include unquantifiable
statements like: “Demonstrates commitment to the future”, or “Shows proactive
involvement in company mission.” Make sure unclear standards are clarified or
removed from the list. Leaving them in can result in hidden financial and
If your managers report that employee performance remains
basically unchanged year after year regardless of performance reviews, consider
streamlining or scaling back the process as you move forward. On the other
hand, if your managers suggest that reviews provide useful but insufficient
data, then consider expanding the process, adding more focused evaluation
criteria and more room for an open ended, flexible consideration of employee