Depending upon how you look at them, performance reviews are either a dreaded chore or a promising opportunity. If you want your performance reviews to actually mean something - both to you and to your employees, you should follow these three suggestions:
Too many reviews make them less effective.
Objectively speaking, you would expect employees to benefit from more frequent feedback on their work. But from a practical perspective, the opposite is often true: if employee performances are reviewed too often, then the review process itself becomes more of a task then an actual learning opportunity. While there is nothing wrong with allowing employees to see how they are measuring up, you should set an actual schedule for official performance reviews, during which you do more than simply give your employee facts and figures. The official review should be an opportunity for the employee to ask questions, and for you to discuss what role you envision the employee playing in the future.
Make the review a summary, not a surprise.
Note that a performance review should be a culmination of feedback that the employee has received throughout the year. If you have negative feedback for an employee, you should provide that feedback so that the employee has time to make changes. Then, at the review, you can discuss how the employee responded to feedback generally, rather than discussing particular projects. You should never save up specific feedback to provide at a review - it is ineffective, and it is more likely to make the performance review unnecessarily confrontational.
Look forward as well as back.
When you conduct an employee’s performance review, you of course want to congratulate the employee on his or her accomplishments thus far. After all, many employees look forward to their reviews to validate the time and effort that they have invested into their work. But only discussing the past does little to help your employee, or your practice, in the future. You should also discuss how the employee can put his or her skills to work on additional projects, and how this work could be beneficial for you both.
Employee performance reviews are a powerful tool for training, and maintaining, your workforce. When used effectively, they can serve as a great opportunity to discuss promotions and overall performances and can remind your employees that they are what keeps your practice afloat.