Oh, the dreaded performance review! Most of my clients, who don’t think twice about performing a complicated root canal on a conscious patient, quake at the prospect of a performance review with their employees. The old adage, ‘the truth will set you free’ comes into play here. As an employer, think about the performance review as an opportunity to solidify a relationship with your employees. While this brief, one-on-one meeting with an employee helps you to re-establish your leadership role and gives you an opportunity for honest appraisal of your employee’s work, it serves a purpose beyond that. Employees need to feel appreciated, and they need to know how they are progressing in their jobs. The review process gives them a clear understanding of what is expected of them, their strengths and the areas needing development. It also gives them a solid sense of their relationship with you, their employer. Rather than feeling uncomfortable about this process, view the performance review as as a win-win for both you and your employee.
That which can be measured, can improve.
Some tips to make the process of performance reviews as smooth as possible:
1. Be prepared.Design a valid review system with a standard form. This will assist you in leading the discussion and focusing on the areas that are important. I will include two .pdf forms which I have designed specifically for dental practices. One enables you to ‘grade’ the results and compare the grade to past years. The other allows you to see clearly the strengths and improvement areas for each employee.
2. Keep it simple. If this is your first attempt at reviews, have the employee complete the form a few days prior to the meeting. You do the same. At the meeting, compare notes. This will initiate conversation and make things easier for you. This is a good way to handle the first performance review for a new employee as well.
3. Keep it real. Lead with a positive, be honest and straightforward, don’t be confrontational, and keep it fairly general (don’t get tangled up in too much detail).