Signs Something Is Off With Your Performance Review Process

Signs Something Is Off With Your Performance Review Process

If you run a business with a team of employees, you've got to know who's doing what! And it applies to every organization, whether it has a small crew of a dozen employees or a large one with thousands on board. You've got to monitor, measure, and manage their performance. It boils down to regular reviews, but you may miss out somewhere.

Do you feel your performance review process is not on the right track? Well, you're not alone. In fact, statistics suggest that only 8% of companies believe their review process is worth the time they put into it. Unfortunately, it means 92% need improvement in some way. That's a pretty dismal number, right?

But how can you foresee a problem early and start working on it sooner than later? You've got to keep an eye on some red flags during your performance reviews and look closer if you spot anything amiss. And some are actually easy to overlook unless you are vigilant enough.

Here are the subtle signs that indicate something is off with your performance review process. Pay attention and get to work right away!

Sign #1- Your people dread the process

Of course, being assessed is stressful for anyone. But your employees may dread performance reviews if they're not sure what to expect. Imagine how anxious they may feel when you suddenly pick a KPI they've never known. Or you ask them unexpected questions during the feedback conversation.

If your employees actively avoid performance reviews or seem anxious about them, that's a surefire sign that something isn't working. As a business owner, you've got to ensure that the process is fair, transparent, and constructive.

Setting clear expectations for your team members is a good start. Also, communicate with them throughout the year to avoid last-minute bombshells.

Sign #2- Reviews happen just once a year

Performance reviews shouldn't be the first time people hear feedback about their work, right? If that's the case, something is seriously wrong with your process. How many times do you share feedback with your team members every quarter?

Well, you've got to provide regular feedback throughout the year. In fact, the more frequent, the better. It helps them make improvements as they go instead of prolonging their weaknesses until they become habits. Implement regular check-ins, team meetings, and informal chats.

By giving ongoing feedback, you'll ensure that people know their strengths and areas for improvement. The best thing about regular sessions is that performance reviews become less intimidating.

Sign #3- Performance numbers don't look good

Another sign you shouldn't overlook is a consistent drop in employee performance. Maybe, you'll notice many people falling short of their goals or struggling to meet expectations. Think beyond individual shortcomings because your performance review process may be the actual problem.

Perhaps something in the feedback process or goal-setting that's not working. You've got to do your bit to set up your team for success with clear expectations and realistic goals. Ensure that feedback is delivered constructively so that it encourages growth and improvement.

By working on these issues, you'll help your employees maximize their full potential and go above and beyond their targets.

Sign #4- Your managers aren't well-prepared

Are your managers good at reviewing the performance of their team members? That's one factor making all the difference. If they seem unprepared or rush through the process, they're surely falling short.

It's an indication that they don't see the value in the process. You can overcome the concern by training them to prepare them to conduct reviews effectively. Training should include things like how to give constructive feedback, set achievable goals, and motivate employees.

By ensuring that managers are well-prepared, you'll be able to create an effective performance review process. So invest in your managers first, and the rest will follow.

Sign #5- Goals are not meaningful

Whether your employees set goals for themselves or follow the ones given by their managers, they should be meaningful. It means they should drive improvement in some way. But it doesn't always happen.

If you see people chasing generic or unambitious goals, they are going in the wrong direction. They'll not be fully engaged in the process or trust performance reviews. You've got to encourage people to set challenging but achievable goals that are in tandem with the company's overall objectives.

The approach benefits your business and creates a sense of purpose and direction among employees.

Sign #6- Your employees are disengaged

Engaged employees give their best to a company. If people feel disengaged and disconnected, they are hardly loyal to their employer, right? And it's a sign you should never overlook.

Maybe, they're not happy with the way managers review their performance. Or they fear bias affecting judgments. Implementing a 360 Review Process is the best option. It enables you to get feedback from everyone a team member works with, from their managers to peers and direct reports.

There's hardly a chance of bias creeping into the process. So people feel engaged, connected, and loyal to the company.

Sign #7- People don't feel valued

Employee engagement is a big concern, but a lack of motivation is even worse. And it often happens when people don't feel valued. What if you fail to acknowledge their hard work and achievements during reviews? Are your managers too harsh with the feedback?

Well, these are surely big problem areas as people may lose their motivation and morale. It's time to rework your review process to make it more productive and recognize and celebrate their successes.

Sign #8- Employees get defensive during performance reviews

This one's a serious red flag because it is hard to deal with people getting defensive or argumentative during performance reviews. It can create a toxic work environment, even more, when it happens often and many people do it.

You must pay attention to the sign because it indicates that the feedback may not be constructive. As a rule, managers should be cordial with employees during review conversations.

They need to provide respectful and actionable feedback to keep things on the right track.

Sign #9- Your employees aren't getting better

What's the purpose of performance reviews? Well, it's not about finding flaws or highlighting shortcomings in people. It is about helping them improve and do more for your business.

But are you sure that your employees are actually getting better after feedback? If that's not the case, something isn't working. You must take a closer look at the goal-setting and feedback process to identify any areas for improvement.

If everything looks good in these areas, your managers may be off the mark. Whatever the reason, you've got to find it and address it.

Sign #10- You are too focused on metrics

Employee reviews are about numbers and KPIs. After all, you need to know the number of leads and sales your sales reps close during a quarter. Likewise, you've got to follow the respective KPIs for each department.

But is your performance review process focused only on numbers? Well, that's a problem because you should also consider human factors like behaviors, attitudes, and soft skills.

Are employees good at teamwork and collaboration? Do they get into conflicts often? Assess these areas to get a comprehensive view of their performance.

Sign #11- Your reviews focus only on the past

Another red flag to consider is that your reviews are too focused on past performance. Of course, you want to know how employees fared in the last month, quarter, and year.

But thinking only about what went wrong in the past hardly makes sense. In fact, you may only waste time and stress by focusing on the negatives.

You should take a solution-focused approach and think of future development and growth opportunities. It's the right way to make the process more fruitful in the long run.

Sign #12- You have a turnover crisis

Did you know how employee turnover can affect your business? It can increase your hiring and training costs. Even worse, it can harm your employer's brand, and you may end up missing out on the best employees and top talent.

A bad performance review process is a possible reason for a turnover crisis. Watch out for employees leaving shortly after their performance review. Look for the culprit because it may be right there.

Address concerns and provide support to make people stick. And remember to fine-tune your review process if it has gaps.

A Final Word

If you're experiencing one or more of these warning signs, step back and reassess your performance review process because something could be seriously wrong. Talk to your employees and managers, gather feedback, and consider the changes you can make to support the growth and development of your team.

Boss, performance reviews are like a two-way street, so treat them that way! Give people a chance to learn from their mistakes and help them give their best. And don't hesitate to shake things up and try a new approach until you find what works best for your business and team. You've got this!

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