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The Elements of an Effective Performance Management & Review Process

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A company's performance management and review process has several components or elements that include far more than just an annual evaluation. Organizations with fully developed performance systems use job descriptions, regular performance appraisals, disciplinary reviews, constructive feedback and one-on-one discussions between supervisors and employees. Although the manner in which an employer goes about implementing or practicing these elements often is based on workplace culture, the elements themselves are critical to maintaining a workforce that knows where it stands concerning the employer's performance expectations.

Leadership Training Is Key

Teaching supervisors and managers to conduct performance appraisals generally is within the purview of the human resources department. The HR department's training manager provides an overview of the company's philosophy of performance management and expectations. Describing the components of the performance management system and how to use each one of them also is an integral part of the training. Also, some of the training should be devoted to teaching supervisors and managers about the types of biases that often creep into performance reviews – intentionally and unintentionally. HR training for performance management and review processes should stress the importance of an objective method for measuring employees' job performance.

Continuous Feedback Counts, Too

Aside from the forms that supervisors and managers often pore over for weeks before scheduling performance appraisal meetings with their direct reports, they're also responsible for providing continuous feedback to employees. This type of feedback doesn't always need to be documented, but it should become one of the organization's best practices. Continuous feedback includes simple gestures of appreciation, such as a pat on the back for a job well done, or a team celebration for completing a challenging project. Many employers hold supervisors and managers accountable for providing employees with feedback, which is a good idea because it ingrains the company philosophy on providing employees the tools they need to be successful, and feedback is one of those tools.

What About Raises?

Many companies use the performance review or appraisal process to reward employees. This is a topic that should be covered during orientation so that employees understand the company's expectations, how their performance will be judged and what the company considers appropriate rewards for high-performing workers. An effective performance management and review process often is strategically connected to employee compensation. In addition, companies that can afford to do so include bonuses and incentives as part of the rewards category.

Professional Development and Employee Motivation

Although performance reviews don't contain 100 percent positive news, they should foster two-way communication between the supervisor and employee so that performance issues and deficiencies get put on the table so the employee and supervisor can work on resolving them. This conversation should include a discussion about the employee's professional development. Talking about securing the employee's future through goal-setting activities is an ideal way to motivate employees. Employee motivation also is, therefore, an element of performance management that shouldn't be overlooked.


Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

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