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  • Writer's pictureSusan & Renée

Good Review Process = Higher Employee Satisfaction

You see this date looming on the calendar. You have set reminders because you know it is important. Still you cringe when the reminders go off. You know you have to do it, but you avoid even thinking about it.

What is it?

It is the dreaded yearly employee review.

This is how many leaders view conducting reviews. It brings them a feeling of discomfort and they default to procrastination. Even if the employee is stellar, the review date can get pushed down the calendar.  And if the employee is problematic, the delay tactics go into high gear.

G2 Solutions would like to propose that the review process can be something that everyone looks forward to. It can be an empowerment tool and a team building opportunity. It can give people a chance to connect and have meaningful conversations - a rare opportunity when everyone is so busy getting the work done.

As with a lot of what we preach, it is all about creating a positive, effective, well balanced process. In the case of reviews, both the employer and employee should leave feeling heard as well as share a common vision of the direction forward.

There are many different review processes. A quick search of the internet will yield a variety of formats. However regardless of the format, a productive review process shares the following elements:

Regularity and Intentionality

It is essential that the review process is predictable and prioritized. This means that reviews are scheduled in advance and that this date is not moved if at all possible. This signals to the employees that it is important and provides plenty of notice so that they can feel prepared to have a fruitful discussion. 

Balanced between celebrating successes and offering ideas for improvement 

The review is an opportunity to look at total performance in a developmental framework. The goal is for the employee to come away feeling valued and clear on your expectations. It does not require the boss to “find something wrong”. If an employee is exceeding expectations, the conversation can be balanced between thanking them for all that they have done, exploring ways that the employee can share expertise with others or gauging interest in expanding their role.

Goal oriented with a focus on the future

While reviewing the previous year’s performance is a key part of the process, what makes this time truly effective is establishing future expectations. This is not about telling the employee what they should do, but rather collaboratively setting goals. This allows the employee to not only feel heard, but to be more invested in achieving the agreed upon objectives.

Allows employees time to provide feedback 

In a good review process, the employer does not do all of the talking. Much of the time is spent asking for employee feedback. This is an opportune time to receive thoughtful input on:

  • their performance

  • your performance as a company leader 

  • company operations

  • ideas for improvement

Providing a self evaluation form can help employees gather their thoughts and be prepared for the meeting. Providing this form also signals the importance of collaboration. It is essential that there is follow up on what was discussed. It can be very demoralizing and torpedo the benefits if the following year the same next steps seem to be cut and pasted onto the new review.

Separates salary increases from reviews

We believe that separating the review process from salary increases makes reviews more effective. When they are tied to compensation, it can limit how receptive an employee is to feedback. As the review is taking place they may wonder how their responses will impact their bottom line. When the processes are separated, the employee can be more open to receive and give feedback. 

Format cultivates openness 

You want the format for both the employer and the employee self review to be simple enough that it doesn’t feel burdensome, but detailed enough that the discussion feels productive and valuable. When evaluating review forms, look for formats that require open ended questions rather than just checking boxes. The review form can be supported with data or specific observations to provide additional context.

Building a review process on these pillars will create a system that becomes a welcome break from focusing on completing daily tasks. It can create a continual improvement loop where employer and employee alike look forward to spending time together reflecting on accomplishments, identifying growth areas and providing innovative ideas that result in a dynamic culture.

Need some help refining your employee review process? G2 Solutions would love to help. 

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