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Jason Volny

Jason Volny National Training Manager

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The Do’s and Don'ts of a Performance Review 

One of the struggles of conducting a performance review is getting an employee to open up and participate in the process.  This is also the most valuable part of the performance review process.  An engaged employee during a performance review produces the most effective insight to "help you help them".  Here are some Do's and Don'ts of a performance review.

Performance Reviews Do’s: 

1. Have a system in place for measuring development and performance. KPIs should be clear to both the manager and the employee. 

2. Be direct, factual, and detail-oriented, be prepared, and take the performance review seriously. If you show signs of, “I’m doing this because my GM told me to do this,” your review will lose credibility and have an adverse effect. 

3. Document all performance and development mishaps. This will provide accurate information for ongoing feedback. The records can also provide important documentation for disciplinary actions. 

4. Focus on recognizing what an employee did right and what steps they took to achieve those results. 

5. Request employee contribution to the conversation. Any thoughts, feelings, or views are welcomed. 

6. Create a performance review guide and use it. Your performance guide should give you a step-by-step navigation through the review process from start to finish. 

7. Ask your employees to analyze their own performance and development KPIs. Ask them for solutions. In most cases, you will find they are more critical of themselves then you will be. 

8. Remember, it’s a two-way discussion. Your employees should be talking as much as you do. 

9. Have a follow-up plan for the actions you’ve selected. Assigning actions to your employees without proper follow up will result in your employees feeling that it does not matter. This will have an adverse effect. 

10. Remind your employees of the reasons for performance reviews. They are designed to assist employees with their career, performance, and developmental journey. Together, you can accelerate your employees’ growth and performance by identifying their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. 

Performance Reviews Don’ts: 

1. Don’t shoot from the hip. Be ready for the review.

2. Don’t attack or judge your employee’s personality or try to change them. 

3. Don’t avoid or put off hard conversations. 

4. Don’t use closed-ended questions. Try to engage your employee in a conversation. 

5. Don’t forget that change can be hard and threatening to an employee.

6. Don’t try to end the discussion too quickly. Give your employee time to express their thoughts and feelings. 

7. Don’t be robotic. Personalize the review by discussing your employee’s work-life balance. 

8. Don’t be arrogant or sarcastic. 

This may seem like a lot to master, but if you take the time to create an environment where the employee can collaborate and engage in the process, you will find the rest of the review goes so much easier.

Marshall Harper

If you are able to facilitate all that you propose in this article, then there should be no need for a performance review as you already are the perfect boss, leader, and human.  Good luck with that.

Tim Doherty

Great information, Jason. One of the biggest hurdles is format for providing this information. Do you (or anyone) have a good collection of forms for performance reviews?

Jason Volny

@Tim Doherty We do have even better. We have forms to walk you through how to build the whole process out and manage them later. In fact, to help the industry during this time, we've launched an 8-week, online, hands-on, Master Class free of charge to help you build and implement the 5 key processes that drive engagement and high performance. Check it out. 

Jason Volny

@Marshall Harper You are correct, if you can do all this, you are an awesome leader. However, it has to be in a systematic matter, as a monthly performance review. Take the "luck" out of growing high performers. 

Dr. Robert Kleinberg

There are only so many hours in the day, and although this sounds great, it is very time consuming. While I agree that there should be objective standards to aid in the evaluation of employees, they only work if management is transparent and willing to carry out rewards and punishments across the board. The fly in the ointment here is, for example, what to do with the salesperson who sells 30 cars a month, but is terrible with their paperwork and followup? What do you do with the BDC agent who makes a lot of appointments but feeds the strong leads to a particular salesperson? Progressive discipline or fire him? How does management figure out a floating schedule of goals based on the tenure of the employee and can you even legally do it in a dealership that is unionized?

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