By Rachelle Wilber

Employee performance reviews are important for both employees and management. They are beneficial for career development and recognizing excellent performance. They also provide a rare opportunity for employees to receive in-depth feedback and request salary increases. Nonetheless, there may be certain things that are missing from your employee performance review process and paperwork.

Subjective Evaluations
Rating scale performance reviews grade employee by specific traits or behaviors. For example, punctuality, dependability and competency. While these performance reviews are highly structured and standardized, there are major drawbacks. The specific characteristics are objective, but every rating is actually a subjective opinion without explanation. That is, two supervisors evaluating the same employee might provide opposite ratings based on their understanding of the trait terms. As a result, it is very difficult for new supervisors to fully understand the employee’s past performance reviews. If possible, consider using fill-in-the-blank style evaluations that require supervisors to explain their reasoning for each trait.

One-Sided
Performance reviews traditionally involve a supervisor calling an employee into their office for a one sided performance review. While the supervisor will most likely give the employee a chance to talk near the end, employee reviews should be a two-sided conversation. This is especially true if there are serious behavioral concerns or unexpected feedback regarding a sensitive matter. A one-sided performance review can result in an employee feeling that they are being blindsided criticized unfairly. To avoid this, consider giving employees a blank performance review to fill out before to the scheduled review. This will encourage the employee to acknowledge their own performance limitations and allow them prepare comments and questions.

Isolated Evaluation
The responsibility of completing an employee performance review often falls upon one person. The person completing the bulk of the evaluation should be the direct supervisor of the employee. However, they should reach out to other management personnel to elicit feedback on the employee’s performance. Moreover, the employee’s manager should review the performance review for any additional feedback. Finally, it is recommended that management refrain from eliciting feedback from co-workers or comparing the employee under review to their colleges. This can create a competitive and uncooperative work environment.

Limited Follow-Up
Performance reviews typically occur every year close to the original date of hire. This is generally not enough time to follow-up on goals and areas of improvement. In fact, performance reviews often end with the employee committing to short-term and long-term goals, but these rarely get followed up on. Furthermore, supervisors should take time to follow-up on improvement suggestions and support employees with improving key competency weaknesses. Doing so will help the employee develop and become more productive. Otherwise, an employee might be unaware of poor performance issues until the next evaluation.

Centralized Information
Performance reviews require the supervisor to examine various documentation, such as personnel files, training records, disciplinary reports and HR records. A centralized source of information will make the performance review process easy and organized. A human resource information system (HRIS) is an example of an innovative way to maintain and access records. For instance, a supervisor can easily access previous performance appraisals and salary and incentive compensation lists. HRIS software also has excellent customized reporting options. The more employees a company has, the more beneficial that HRIS can be.
To recap, performance reviews are an important feedback tool for both employees and management. Common problems with performance reviews include subjective evaluations, one-sided reviews and isolated evaluations. Continual follow-up and using HRIS software will greatly improve the quality of evaluations. Forbes magazine offers more performance review improvement tips here.
Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on twitter: @RachelleWilber