It’s that time of year again for supervisors at calendar year companies to go through the long-awaited, and the occasionally dreaded process of employee reviews, or is it? As a supervisor, do you put the moment to begin logging good and/or maybe not so good performance notes for your direct reports at the tail end of the year? Do you dislike discussing ‘difficult subjects’ so you do as little as possible to avoid the upcoming discussions?
Well, you are probably not alone. However, you are not likely handling the documentation process for good or ‘challenged’ employees correctly either, so let’s see what you could be doing instead.
The purpose of an annual review is to look at an employee’s contributions and challenges over a continuous twelve-month time span. Not the last month, when you were reminded that reviews were coming again, or the last three months, when the employees remembered before you and only excelled during that time period, but did mediocre work the nine months prior to their ‘surge’.
Whether you are responsible for one or a dozen direct reports, making a few notations for each one during or at the end of the month to record the good, bad, and sometimes the ugly, is much easier to refer to at the end of the year, than trying to remember in detail a twelve-month history for each employee. It also gives you a running history at a glance if you begin to see a decline in expected performance that should be addressed when found, not six to nine months after the fact. A simple Word or Excel document can provide the format for you. See form below.
I am sure you can design this type of form or even a better one. I’m trying to demonstrate that it doesn’t have to look like an IRS tax form to be effective or user-friendly. If you wish to jot two to three lines for each month (performance indicators optional), by the end of the year you will have a lot of information to help you with your annual review process, and you will have written most of it already! You should have discovered if a given employee was on track over the course of the year, and you had found and dealt with your challenged employee(s) earlier when you noticed something needed more attention.
By taking monthly notes and dropping the document in the locked personnel file in your office area, you should not cringe at the next annual review period with monthly documentation in hand. Your employees will notice you being more observant about their work efforts, and the goals for your department should receive a positive thrust forward also.
If you have some other ideas on how to help supervisors more effectively prepare for their year-end employee reviews, please send me your thoughts via this link to the Idea Box. I’ll review as many as I can and possibly do a follow-up blog featuring the top picks.
Sample Form: CLICK TO ENLARGE