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Regularly reviewing performance is key

July 06, 2014

As an owner of a small business sometimes little time is given to the “formalities” of managing a business and certain areas tend to be overlooked.

Performance reviews are a good example. Often, business owners work under the everyday evaluation policy without ever having a formal evaluation period; therefore, important information is missed causing potential larger problems in the business.

It is well-known that employers who hold some sort of evaluation to review employees performance yearly gain tremendous benefits. Unfortunately, the word “evaluation” usually has a bad connotation because most people will think of an evaluation as the time to bring up failures or shortcomings.

An evaluation can be extremely positive because it is a procedure that will benefit the employer and employee by allowing both to open lines of communication regarding overall performance. Employees will gain the opportunity to know exactly what the employer expects of them.

Evaluations are the perfect tool to recognize and reward good employees and identify and coach workers who are having trouble. Most importantly, the communication process during the evaluation ensures you will stay in tune with the needs and concerns of the workforce.

In the legal arena performance evaluations can help you keep out of legal trouble by tracking and documenting employees’ problems. If you ever need to fire or discipline a worker, you will have written proof that you gave the employee notice and a chance to correct the problem.

An article found online in NOLO Law for All mentions different areas to consider during an evaluation. Some of these areas are mention below:

Be specific and realistic on goal setting. When you set goals and standards for your workers, spell out exactly what they will have to do to achieve them. Use numeric values instead of words that can be interpreted subjectively.

Be honest and complete. If you avoid telling a worker about performance problems, the worker won’t know he or she needs to improve. Give the bad news, even if it is uncomfortable. When writing your evaluation make sure it is detailed so an outsider reading it would be able to understand exactly what happened and why. Remember, that evaluation just might become evidence in a lawsuit.

Evaluate performance, not personality. Focus on how well (or poorly) the worker does the job, not on the worker’s personal characteristics or traits.

At the end, the evaluation period is a time to talk but most importantly, to listen. Ask employees what they enjoy about their jobs and about working at the company or about any concerns or problems they might have. These conversations will give you valuable information, and your employees will feel their opinion and circumstances also matter.