Time for a New Year’s Resolution
How to Make Employee Reviews Work for You
by Paul Bieber
Sure, you’ll get to your resolutions … as soon as you get some free time. I have heard that 374 times in the last two months from people just like you. I also have a few resolutions that found their way to the back burner.
Let’s take one and do it. The most important way to keep employees happy, retain and encourage them to grow is an honest, timely and encouraging employee review. Let’s look at the basics. An employee review is not:
• To go over a mistake that took place two months ago;
• Used to berate an employee in hope they quit so you don’t have to pay
• Used to discuss a laundry list of errors, so you don’t have to give a reasonable pay raise.
Enough of the negative. Let’s go positive. An employee review done right is the best thing since the invention of the peanut butter-chocolate combo.
During the review, all the employee (let’s call this employee Paul) is looking for is the wage number. Paul won’t hear another thing you say. If the wage increase is low, he’ll mutter to himself; if the wage increase is high, he instantly begins daydreaming of how to spend the extra dollars. If you hold Paul’s wage increase to the end of your conversation, everything you have said will be erased from his memory once you start talking money.
You should do two reviews per year. First is the employee review on the anniversary of their employment. The second is the economic review, done 30-60 days after your fiscal year ends. This is when you go over the company’s results and the employee’s wages and benefits. We’ll cover this next time.
Seventy-five percent of Paul’s employee review should cover plans and expectations for the next 12 months. Twenty-five percent can be used to review the past, with emphasis on the good events. If you haven’t taken action on the bad events at the time they occurred, you have lost your window to improve what took place eight months ago.
Thirty days before the review, give Paul a blank copy of it and ask him to write the review on himself. At the same time, start to write your review. When done, go over your write-up with your supervisor or another manager. How do they feel Paul can improve? What areas of the company could he transfer to and help improve? Where can Paul cross-train?
A review should have five rating levels, with five being the best. When you and Paul are together, read Paul’s review, and if he rates himself a three and you also do, you can discuss ways he can become a four next year. If Paul rates himself a two, and you are at three, praise him and build up his self-image. If he rates himself a five and you are still at three, explain to him that there are areas where he can improve and earn that higher rating.
In my experience, most employees underrate themselves. This gives you a strong opportunity to praise and suggest improvements. This will also improve morale.
In areas where you rate ones and twos, and Paul rates fours and fives, you need to honestly explain that he is not an Eagle Scout and needs to do better to keep his job. Say it clearly, giving him a four-week plan for improvement. If he doesn’t meet agreed-upon goals, then he will be on the street looking for a new job.
The manager needs to spend a fair amount of time, probably five hours, writing, rewriting and making plans for Paul’s future. Most managers should have eight to 12 reviews per year. If your managers, or yourself, have more than 12, you need to revamp your organization.
So much more to discuss, and no more room on this page. As a bonus for every USGlass reader, I will do a half-hour telephone consultation, totally free, going over employee reviews. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment. n
Paul Bieber has 37 years’ experience in the glass industry, with C.R. Laurence and as executive vice president of Floral Glass in New York. He is now the principal of Bieber Consulting Group LLC and can be reached at email@example.com. Read his blog on Tuesdays at http://usgpaul.usglassmag.com.
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