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Make Performance Reviews Palatable

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 21, 2009

Why does the subject of performance reviews throw managers into such a state of anxiety? Most managers would view a trip to the dentist with more enthusiasm.

One of the main reasons that managers show such disdain toward this process is that it is difficult for them to see what value it has relative to all the other things that they must do. Making sure that the function they are running is working efficiently and delivering value to the business is the most critical aspect of their job. So why should they fill out a form that takes them away from their core function, especially if it seems to have no real value?

In this case, value is not in the eye of the beholder. Labor is very expensive, and every manager should make managing this asset a priority. The value to your business is in measuring the contribution that your employees are making. Having a systematic way to establish goals and standards and measure people’s performance on an ongoing basis is the key to managing the value of your human capital.

Employees place a great deal of importance on feedback. For the majority of us good performers in the workplace, getting feedback on how we are doing is an important motivational factor. All managers should want their employees to have a clear idea of where they stand, and they will—but only if you make sure that you have a process in place, and that it is executed flawlessly.

The process doesn’t have to be very formal—you do not need elaborate forms and extensive levels of approval. What you do need is a process that is defined clearly, so that managers and employees know what is expected. You need agreement on the measures of performance, so there are no surprises. And your managers need to clearly articulate both of the above to your employees.

Bob Kustka
Founder and CEO
The Fusion Factor
Norwell, Mass.

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