’Tis the Season for Performance Reviews

November 17, 2016

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While the final two months of the year are commonly considered the holiday season, at many companies they are also home to another annual tradition: Performance review season.

When done properly, annual reviews can play a vital role in increasing every organization’s productivity. They can assist in employee development efforts, help gauge morale and determine levels of employee engagement. Performance reviews can even pave the way toward higher employee retention rates.

However, in order to reap the countless benefits of performance reviews, well thought out systems must be in place. Here are a few tips for conducting more impactful year-end reviews:

Don’t treat reviews like one-off events.

Supervisors should provide feedback and assess job performance throughout the entire year. Performance reviews should be a continual process, rather than a game of catch up at the last minute before the holidays begin.

Surprises are not a good thing.

If the process is done right, employees should not be surprised by the feedback they hear at the end of the year. Review discussions are meant to wrap up the last 12 months and should be based on a year’s worth of on-the-job experience. As such, managers should schedule the review at least a week in advance to allow both parties to sufficiently prepare.

Take workloads into account.

Recognize cases where employees have taken on the responsibilities of more than one position. Managers should acknowledge that fact and take it into account during the review.

Be candid. Avoiding a difficult discussion helps no one.

Managers should be generous with praise when warranted, but also address any shortcomings or areas for improvement. Constructive criticism can also expose areas where an employee simply needs more on-the-job training. Remaining silent about an employee’s shortcomings can be a disservice to an organization, the employee and manager.

Allow for feedback.

Keep in mind that the face-to-face meeting is  a discussion, not a monologue. It is time set aside for managers to praise employees and offer suggestions for improvement. Workers should also be given ample time to speak up, identify successes and challenges or disagree during the conversation.

Follow up and set goals.

Reviews should always end with an action plan in place. Employees should receive a hard copy outline of key points covered during the discussion and goals for the next year. If an employee gave constructive feedback during the meeting, follow up and report progress that has been made.

Executive Summary Newsletter SubscriptionEric Bonugli is a district manager and Kay Oder is a Certified Business Performance Advisor for Insperity located in the company’s Austin office. Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 30 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance.

Topics: Human Resources

Kay Oder


Kay Oder has owned six companies, has been a resource to thousands to businesses and brought solutions to help business owners minimize risk, improve business performance and navigate today’s highly regulated and complex “business of being an employer”.

Today, Kay uses the insights gained throughout her career as a speaker, business owner and business advisor. Audiences enjoy her candid, informed perspective on HR related topics as well as her razor-sharp southern wit.

Kay is also a Certified Business Performance Advisor with Insperity, the $2.6 billion business performance solutions provider she has called home since 1993. Kay has consistently been among the company’s top producers during her 20 plus years with the organization, earning Insperity’s highest honors, including the Top Volume, Circle of Excellence and the Chairman’s Club awards.

Prior to Insperity, Kay was the President and Co-founder of Texas Valve Specialists, a supplier in the oil and gas industry. She has also owned companies in the construction, demolition, machining and promotional apparel arenas. She spent four years as a client of Insperity and upon selling her last venture, joined the Insperity team.

From an early age Kay demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit, beginning at age six when she sold cantaloupes from her parents’ front yard, which she offered three for fifty-cents, with a free puppy.

Kay and her husband, Dale, relocated to Austin from the Houston area in 1996 when a theft occurred in their family: their granddaughter was born and stole their hearts, so they had to follow.

Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 30 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance. Insperity® Business Performance Advisors offer the most comprehensive suite of products and services available in the marketplace. Insperity delivers administrative relief, better benefits, reduced liabilities and a systematic way to improve productivity through its premier Workforce Optimization® solution. Additional company offerings include Human Capital Management, Payroll Services, Time and Attendance, Performance Management, Organizational Planning, Recruiting Services, Employment Screening, Financial Services, Expense Management, Retirement Services and Insurance Services. Insperity business performance solutions support more than 100,000 businesses with over 2 million employees. With 2016 revenues of $2.9 billion, Insperity operates in 61 offices throughout the United States. For more information, call 800-465-3800 or visit www.insperity.com.

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