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Professional Service Agreement

Performance Review Mistakes

Properly administered, performance reviews are a valuable tool for improving the performance of both the individual employee and their organization. However, some supervisors do not provide adequate attention and effort to the process.

Here are some of the biggest mistakes supervisors habitually make in performance reviews:

They do not adequately prepare for the review, and they do not allow enough time for the process, rushing through it.

They regard the review as a waste of time. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when they just go through the motions of giving all employees a "C" as a cop-out for not giving specific and pointed feedback.

They base the review on a score according to meaningless criteria. Does it really matter if someone scores 90% or 95% on attendance? Attendance problems can be dealt with separately through normal discipline.

They fear the employee's response. Many supervisors still avoid giving constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement because they fear a confrontation with the employee.

They lack training in how to give constructive feedback and have not sought it out on their own.

They are uncomfortable sitting down one-on-one with employees to talk about performance and attitude.

They are plagued by anxiety over any possible area of disagreement with the employee being reviewed, instead of accepting it as a natural part of the process.

They hide behind other supervisors if other supervisors don't make a special effort on the performance evaluations of their personnel, why should they?

They use the performance review only to lay blame, instead of using it as an opportunity to point out the good and the bad. You want to praise good deeds so the employee will repeat them.

They don't want to say negative things. Everybody likes to play Santa Claus and give away raises and praises, but not everybody is comfortable sharing necessary bad news, and can do it in a way that is uplifting and points to a better future.

They save up some negative feedback to surprise the employee with it at performance review time since they believe they have to have something negative to say. Necessary criticism should be given out over events as they occur in real time, not "saved up" and stored for review time. The best reviews are the ones where there are no surprises on either side, the supervisor or the employee.

SESCO Management Consultants is available to assist with your human resource issues. You may contact us by phone at 423-764-4127 or by email at