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Whether it's called a job review, performance evaluation or coaching session, these systems of measuring employee development typically share some common goals. For most employers, communicating expectations and identifying skills that require improvement are two natural priorities. However, a comprehensive review system should also act to fulfill the employee's need for recognition, keep pushing him to perform at higher levels, and provide an honest venue to discuss the employer's own inner workings.
Defining expectations is the top priority of any review system. Otherwise, strong performers feel little incentive to get better, while marginal co-workers can coast without fearing the consequences. However, this scenario is less likely to happen if measurable goals and objectives are created for each job description, according to an analysis by Plant Services. Also, employees might believe that they're doing the right thing -- but without feedback, an organization is unlikely to consistently achieve all its goals.
Improving performance is a central part of any review. This goal carries different consequences, depending on how an employee is doing, according to "Forbes" magazine. For star performers, knowing the company is interested in their career growth makes it more likely that they'll keep pushing to do their best. For workers who don't meet expectations, evaluations are an important means of addressing the situation before behavior becomes too entrenched to change.
Most employees want to excel in hopes that the company will honor the extra effort. Reviews provide a systematic framework to recognize strong performers, whether it happens through higher pay, improved working conditions or some type of corporate recognition program, according to the successfactors.com website. Employees who see a clear connection between hard work and rewards are less likely to jump ship, especially if the company provides opportunities to learn new skills and move up the ladder.
Besides performance issues, job reviews can also promote candid discussions between employees and supervisors about an organization's strengths and weaknesses, "Forbes" magazine says. Employees can look back at the year's highs and lows, for example, and discuss what could have been done better. Such conversations are necessary to help organizations function at higher levels. This is also a good time for managers to ask employees what type of support they need to achieve their goals.
Raising productivity can be a key goal of any review process, if it's done under the right conditions. Employees are more likely to flourish under a system that promotes positive expectations, asserts Bill Baren, a career consultant interviewed for "Inc." magazine. Baren used this approach to refocus a client's meetings on events that were going right, and how to continue the trend -- which he credited with helping to restore the organization's fortunes in six months.
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- CareerCast: Keys to a Great Corporate Culture: Improving Employee Engagement
- Forbes: Ten Biggest Mistakes Bosses Make In Performance Reviews
- New Media Learning: Performance Evaluations: More Important Than Ever in 2011
- ShawValenza; The Daily Recorder; Evaluating Employee Performance: Tips and Pitfalls
Ralph Heibutzki's articles have appeared in the "All Music Guide," "Goldmine," "Guitar Player" and "Vintage Guitar." He is also the author of "Unfinished Business: The Life & Times Of Danny Gatton," and holds a journalism degree from Michigan State University.
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