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Performance Reviews a Must for Success

Many employees and employers still cringe at the prospect of the annual or semi-annual performance review. Employees sometimes view them as a nerve-wracking process designed to point out their flaws. While employers sometimes view them as paperwork projects that can potentially create unneeded conflict.

But having a strong performance management program means improving performance. Employees learn what they did right and employers learn how to help their staff achieve career and corporate-oriented goals. These translate to improved morale, a happier workplace and higher profits.

Just ask Michael Traquair, former Executive Chef at the Ramada Plaza & Conference Centre in Abbotsford. Michael is responsible for overseeing all food and beverage operations for the property. During peak season he has 30 employees, and conducting evaluations is one of his most important job duties.

“Feedback is important,” said Michael. “I think we have a responsibility to the team to make sure we do evaluations. We use them to gather information and make the necessary changes.”

Michael talked about using evaluations not only to improve an individual employee's performance, but also to improve the working environment so that employees can do their jobs better. “I ask them to appraise me as a leader,” he said. “I ask them what changes they would like to see in the organization.”

He uses evaluations as a way of coaching and inspiring employees, something especially important in his industry. “Really it's about setting benchmarks and timeframes for achievement,” said Michael. Their organization has an apprenticeship program and issues such as training might come out in the evaluation. For example, Michael might learn that certain employees would improve job performance if they took more career-oriented field trips.

How often should employers perform reviews?

Michael usually likes to complete two formal performance evaluations a year, once every six months. Most of the time he leaves it open for the team member to decide when because some people prefer feedback more often than others.

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go2HR recommends a nine step performance management plan:

  1. Develop a strategic plan and put your vision in writing.
  2. Identify organizational goals to determine what needs to be done to create a successful strategic plan.
  3. Translate the organizational goals into measurable employee goals. The goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. 
  4. Review employee progress on an ongoing basis.
  5. Identify specific training and development needs to help employees know how they can meet expectations. 
  6. Conduct formal and informal progress reviews throughout the year.
  7. Complete an annual performance review that provides feedback and evaluates progress toward achieving goals.  
  8. Establish development activities for the coming year.
  9. Rate employee performance to help improve morale and enhance productivity.

Because employee performance affects company performance, many employers link performance reviews to pay raises. “We don't always give a raise after every performance review,” said Michael. “If somebody deserves it, they're going to get a raise.”

Michael has learned that when employees understand what’s expected of them, they have an easier time doing things that make their company successful. Rewarding a great worker with a pay raise identifies “superstars” that will motivate the rest of the team to do the same kinds of things.

According to Michael, most employees actually enjoy performance reviews. “If you've done your job and hired the right person, they’ll love hearing feedback.”

Ultimately, employers want to create a work environment that makes employees look forward to coming to work, reduces absenteeism and motivates people to do their jobs well. Performance reviews can do all these things. “They keep the team united and they help us earn the trust of the team members,” said Michael. To the Ramada Plaza & Conference Centre, performance reviews are an essential part of their business success.

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