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Performance reviews are beneficial for employers and employees because they ensure both are on the same page when it comes to what a company expects of a worker. They also help both parties track and assess how things are going and what needs to change. Setting goals for these reviews helps you guide staff members and provides better benchmarks for evaluating compensation and promotion issues.
Set short-term orientation goals for new employees and schedule a performance review for 30 to 90 days after they come on board. Goals for this first review can include learning and adhering to the company’s internal policies and procedures, learning the specific requirements for the job and the development of interpersonal skills and becoming part of the team.
Outcome goals focus on specific results or what the employee achieved, as opposed to performance results, which focus on how the employee achieved results. During an annual review, assess the employee’s outcome goals, which include productivity and efficiency. Productivity is a benchmark of the quantity of work an employee does, while efficiency focuses on the quality of the work. For example, a sales employee might open 15 new accounts, but problems with contracts, customer service and ongoing communications result in only 12 accounts making a profit and re-signing. When setting productivity goals, such as sales numbers or cost-cutting, include efficiency goals for each to prevent an employee from trying to reach an outcome goal by cutting corners or taking shortcuts.
Set performance goals for employees, such as reducing their time and cost to do their work, decreasing errors, increasing speed and taking on more work. If an employee is doing his job the same way he was doing it at the beginning of the year, this might be a sign the employee has perfected his job performance, but it could also suggest he's made no effort to improve his methods. Meet with the employee at the beginning of the year and ask if he needs to change any of his performance methods, what support he needs to do that and what you can do to help. This support might include providing the employee with new software, sending him to a workshop or providing in-house training.
General Business Skills
To help employees prepare for more responsibility and to enhance your ability to hire from within, set goals for employee improvement in business skills not related to one particular job. Offer to reimburse tuition for classes or workshops in time management, communications, leadership, team-building or customer service skills. Conduct surveys among your low-level staff to assess employees' view of your managers and get suggestions for improvement. Have your managers review their subordinates’ skill-improvement needs and identify employees who might be future managers.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.
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