4 Things to Avoid in a Performance Review

As a manager one of your most important duties is conducting effective performance reviews. These reviews can help you successfully place employees in productive situations while either removing or ameliorating problem behavior from some employees who may be under performing. Performance reviews done right can be a great asset to your management strategy. This being said, there are a number of things you should strive to avoid in a performance review, and these are four of the most important:

1. Avoid placing too many employees in middle level grades on performance reviews.

There can be a tendency of managers to rate most employees as “good enough” and shuffle them towards the middle. This approach rewards people at the top and punishes people on the bottom of your review system. This is not effective because it fails to address what is making the majority of your staff merely perform at a satisfactory level. Instead of middle grouping your employees, try to make an objective list of their strengths and weaknesses and work towards complimenting strengths and eliminating weaknesses. Be sure to compliment loudly and criticize softly.

2. Exempting favored employees from scrutiny.

This is often a problem for many managers. As managers we often work closely with employees and over time find ourselves favoring certain people. While your personal relationship with a person might be favorable it is your duty as a manager to make sure that everyone is reviewed fairly and objectively. If you do not rate your employees you can be censured, fired, or even sued. It is very important not to take personal feelings into account when reviewing an employee’s performance. Personal reviews that are uncritical can also hurt the employee. If they do not know their strengths and weaknesses when they are working under a manager that does not have your fondness for them they may be in a dire situation.

3. Not using the evaluation period correctly.

Evaluation periods are set over a certain period of time for a reason. They are meant to evaluate an employee over a certain period of time. If you judge an employee based simply on part of that time you will not be using the review process correctly. When filling out performance reviews make sure you take into account an employee’s full contributions over the entire period of time rather than over a period that you have determined you will value.

4. Rating employees well to make your management style seem effective.

Some managers think they can “game the system” by reviewing their employees as stellar, hoping that the employees awesome performance will reflect upon them positively. This strategy has been seen by many corporate departments and will catch up with you eventually. Your superiors will eventually see that you are cheating and punish you accordingly. Your employees also lose out because they will have no idea they need to grow constantly as employees and they may be fired in the future.