Whether you ask the reviewer or the employee being reviewed, “Do you like the performance review process?” I guarantee that you will get the same response: “No.” We sent a man to the moon over 40 years ago, but we can’t seem to find an employee review process that people don’t hate.
Well, for the past two years, we tried something new here at NY Report and I think we are on to something. So I would like to share our process with you.
I will start by saying that I meet “semi-formally” with everyone who reports to me at least once every other month to discuss them and their job (as opposed to discussing their projects). In addition, I casually check in with them more frequently (usually over lunch). So, regardless of the preview process, we are not waiting six or 12 months to find out how things are going. It also means that there are rarely any surprises.
How It Works
1. We set up time to meet for an hour.
2. In advance of our meeting, the reviewee puts together a bulleted, one-page list of
- Hits (accomplishments)
- Top goals for the coming year.
3. Prior to the meeting, I review their list.
4. When we meet, we very briefly go over the list. We spend more time going over any difference of opinion. (Of course, because of the casual check-ins, differences have been very minor.)
5. We discuss their goals. In particular, I want to make sure they are aligned with the company’s goals and that they are measurable.
6. If appropriate, we discuss resources they need to accomplish their goals.
7. We discuss professional development.
8. I mark up their list using “track changes” and save it.
9. Sometimes there is a follow-up to discuss their action plan for goals.
That is it. I know there are nine steps, but the whole thing takes a couple of painless hours. And my team seems to like this process, too. James Linney, marketing manager, said, “I like the process because it is informal and doesn’t take up a lot of time. It is also practical, because now I know that Rob and I are on the same page with respect to my performance and goals.”
I can’t tell you that this is the perfect system. I can tell you that both I and my team like the process and get value out of it. And while this might seem strange to have your employees begin their own review, I like it because I don’t have to spend hours working on it and searching for the right words.
Hope this helps.
Robert Levin is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of The New York Enterprise Report. Levin has extensive experience with midsize and small businesses, having previously held CEO, CFO, and COO positions with companies in several industries. He is also a contributor for The Huffington Post. Levin can be reached at email@example.com and (212) 307-6760.