Employee Performance Reviews: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Performance Reviews

When I worked for a large corporation, I thought the rating systems were far too impersonalSure, I had to use them for employees to be given their raises, but I never saw them as a true reflection of the person or their capabilities. 

Does Anyone Ever Look Forward to Employee Performance Reviews? 

Performance ReviewsWhile they were valuable, I could understand how this type of evaluation was both fair, simple, and efficient for the company overall with so many employees on a national scale. Additionally, I needed to complete evaluation forms on people I had barely managed at all or for any great length of time 

That didn’t matter to the company or to the employee- each needed it to be done for the process to work properly. And since I was the middle person, I did not want to be in the way of that process. I bet you can relate to that! 

When I owned my own company, I knew I had an opportunity to create a better system that served both the company and the employee bestI began to look forward to the process of the employee review…yes, really! 

Growth for the Employee – and the Company 

It was always music to my ears when an employee would tell me that they wanted to grow in the company. As an achiever who has always been driven to accomplish, I found this to be a positive trait. Also, I knew that we would need more from each person as we continued to expand. It was ideal for us to have people who wanted to serve the company more and grow with us.  

There were times, however, when I recognized that I could not offer the future possibilities a particular employee desired. In those cases, I would encourage the employee to continue investigating their path to see whether it was something they wanted to pursue for themselves.  

Employees are usually taken off guard by this response, surprised that I would not want to convince them why that wasn’t a good idea – or could be a bad decision for them. But I have found that this encouragement helps them to be able to know and understand their options and facts. In the end, if they choose to stay or go, they did it with clarity, knowing all the information without wondering or questioning.  

Helping the Employee Decide: A Real-Life Example  

Performance ReviewsHere’s an example from my company: 

I had a graphic designer on our team who was extremely talented. She created beautiful marketing pieces that led many important design projects which impacted our company very positively.  

She was well liked and a tremendous asset to our team. Losing her would have created a big hole and loss for us that would have been difficult to replace. During one of her performance reviews, we discussed all her qualities, and she shared that she wanted to pursue a different type of design.  

This design was something that we were outsource contracting at the time to a partner company. I ran the numbers to explore whether this was something that I could bring in-house instead, but I quickly saw there wasn’t a way to justify that business decision. Instead, I referred her to the partner company where we were currently doing businessconnected the two of them and told her to fully explore her options for herself.  

Letting Them Choose Their Path

Both she and the partner company were shocked that I would have done this for either of themIf I hadn’t connected them, she could have gone out on her own to pursue other opportunities. Also, she could have joined one of my competitors who might have had an in-house design program and I would have lost a great asset to one of my direct competitors.  

Also, I could continue to build my personal loyalty and relationship with this outsource partner company by referring a great potential employee to them. Truly, there were not many ways this can go wrong for anyone by doing this.  

In the end, she decided not to make the move and was no longer interestedNo one lost, it was a win-win situation for everyone.  

The motto of people before business always works for me. 

When You Don’t See a Promotion – but the Employee Does 

Performance ReviewsAnother challenge presents itself when someone wants to grow to the next level, has expressed it frequently and has expectations of more money, the promotion, and more responsibility – but you don’t see that they are ready or maybe they are just not the right fit. 

Many managers struggle with situations like this. No one wants to communicate bad news to a motivated employee and deflate their performance in their current position. 

Managers dread the process of completing employee performance reviews because they don’t know how to handle difficult conversations. When they do have the conversations, they either talk of a future possibility, or claim someone else makes the promotion decision and it’s out of their hands. 

The employee becomes de-motivated anyway because they aren’t getting any feedback and the manager becomes increasingly frustrated by the situation. Many times, someone who was an exceptionally good employee becomes unmotivated and may pursue other opportunities because of the no-win situation. 

Who is Responsible for That Promotion?  

Here’s a perspective I will share that will help: 

It is never the job or responsibility of the manager or business owner to award or give a promotion or raise to an employee. It is always the employee’s responsibility to earn it and achieve it. Always. 

A manager or business owner has the responsibility to clearly outline specific employee requirements for promotion.

When you have a list of job responsibilities that are clearly outlined, you have the benefit of sharing clear expectations where there is opportunity for improvement as part of an employee evaluation.  

Everyone then has a clear understanding of where things are and can go. Getting a promotion means meeting expectations and that the list of requirements is 100% the responsibility of the employee. Then it’s out of your control as a manager or owner, and that’s the way it needs to be.  

Many managers and business owners worry unnecessarily over the managing of people and there really is nothing to worry about.  

Never Dread Performance Reviews Again 

When you can be clear about what you need and the path it will take for someone to get there, an employee can make decisions for themselves about what and whether they want to pursue those things or not.  

There’s no downside to this approach.  

You can create an opportunity for someone to learn and grow and you become the beneficiary of having a fully trained and loyal employee who you reward with a promotion.  

Or, you have an employee who fully understands why they are not where they think they are. They are clear and they get to decide. That’s your goal. When you provide clear, concise employee requirements, the odds of you having a much more loyal and high-quality staff are far greater.  

You will have 100% control of how you show upYou can be the kind of leader that you want to be. 

Integrate a People Before Business Motto 

Communicating professionally, respectfully and with kindness to your team can be your way all the time. You don’t need to worry or dread employee performance reviews again. Instead, you can see them as a positive opportunity to create and inspire communication between yourself and your employee for a long-term relationship and long-term loyalty.  

People Before Business- that’s my motto. That is what has worked for me. It can work for you too. 

For more great guidance, content, inspiration and oneonone strategizing and coaching on this topic or anything else as you grow into the leader you want to be, check us out at Strive Coaching Studio 

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