THE BUSINESS BOOMER – #6c – Performance Reviews: 10 Reasons How Not To Give A Review


While likely not all inclusive, this list is a guide based on my own business experiences.   Again, common sense being the force for good; and making the whole review process have meaning for all parties.

1.  Don’t be late.  On-time reviews let the employee know the importance in the review process itself and that the employee is important enough to receive it on time.

2. Never give the employee the review format and have them complete it first so that responses can be compared with those of the supervisor/manager giving it to them.  Whoever the bozo was who decided this one should be drawn and quartered.  This only serves to embarrass the employee by putting them on the spot.  It’s a cheap way for a supervisor/manager to shirk his duty and reveals nothing positive in the review process.  Example… “Why, Mr. Employee, have you rated yourself so well in the area of production?”  Dumb questions like this when employees are asked to complete their own review in advance put the employee on the defensive for the entire review session.

3.  Never give a performance review by “committee” (meaning, having the employee in the presence of more than one reviewer).  This only serves to intimidate the employee and stifles free expression.  It tells the employee that it’s “gang up on me” time or, “why do we need all these witnesses?”.

4.  Keep to the time scheduled for giving the review but don’t set a time duration for the review.  Leave the completion time open.  This conveys to the employee that there will be enough time to cover all issues without being rushed.  Although, this does not mean that the reviewing authority cannot facilitate the review toward a practical completion time, it should be done with tact.  Conversely, the employee should be assured that their own routine work will not become a later workload to catch up.

5.  As the reviewing authority, don’t sit behind a desk when giving a review; sit at a table or informal couch/chair setting.  In fact, better to have a more neutral location such as a meeting room with a regular or round table and keep it out of the boss’s office altogether.  The latter conveys to the employee an aire of equal voice and frank exchange of concerns without inhibition or intimidation.

6.  A review session should not be interupted by routine office work, phone calls, messages as this a) reduces the importance in giving the review by suggesting other priorities take precedent, and, b) creates a hurried environment and breaks any thought processes.

7.  Reviews, simply by nature of them being tools for performance evaluation and goal setting, should be given at least twice a year to be of value (any less than that.. why wait a full year before telling an employee they may need improvement or recognition?).

8.  Refrain from making a potential for a salary increase the primary focus on a performance review (refer to The Business Boomer #6d posting).  Also.. make the so-called “money” review be just as consistant as any preceeding reviews; in other words, make sure the review “theme” is not about presenting performance justification for any salary expectations.

9. Absolutely positively there should be no surprises with content of any review.  Any problem areas or points of recognition should have been addressed earlier during the normal work routine (unless there is a positive shift in job responsibility or a promotion as a reward for meeting performance expectations). 

10.  Never do a performance review if either the reviewer or the employee is ill or under-the-weather.  This only serves to distract and interupt the process with loss of focus.

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