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When it comes time for employee evaluations, many companies follow a generic format designed to cover the basics of any worker’s performance, regardless of his or her specific role. But sales management expert Kevin Higgins believes that cookie-cutter performance reviews like this don’t provide enough real value to the employee.
“Performance reviews are meant to be thoughtful and provide a chance to look at someone’s overall performance from many perspectives,” said Higgins, author of “Engage Me: Strategies from the Sales Effectiveness Source” (Fusion Learning, 2013). “A rigid structure that managers are forced to apply to all employees is not very engaging at all.”
Higgins shared this customizable five-step employee review format that he uses to provide maximum feedback and perspective on an employee’s performance:
- Agree to a list of reviewers. This step is very important. You must get a list that will give great representation of different relationships and varying viewpoints. The goal is to have multiple people provide feedback for each employee.
- Collect feedback. Get responses from everyone on the reviewer list. Employees should also submit their own feedback during this part of the process so they aren’t biased by the responses.
- Create a feedback document. Read each reviewer’s feedback in full, and categorize it into either positive responses or opportunities for improvement. You may need to slightly alter comments so that you protect the anonymity of the sources.
- Feedback meeting 1: Present and discuss. Share the feedback document with the employee. Read it together, reflecting on strengths first. After identifying key messages in the strengths section, move on to opportunities. Be sure that you take time and allow the employee to process the review with you. Do not allow him or her to leave in an emotional state, and end on a positive note.
- Feedback meeting 2: Agree on an action plan. The first step in this meeting is to revisit the review. Ask employees if they have any questions, or how they feel now that they’ve had their review for some time. Next, create an action plan to make the suggested improvements. Ensure that it is SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Ask them how you can help, and gain their commitment to improving and ensure they see the value in doing so.