Performance Review Tips to Usher in a New Era

By Robert Half December 26, 2016 at 2:00pm

Telecommuting and virtual meetings aren’t the only trends contributing to today’s more flexible workplace. The traditional performance review is also becoming more adaptable and less structured, leading to new performance review tips for employers and their finance teams.

“We encourage our internal managers, from division directors to vice presidents, to meet regularly with their employees to let them know how they’re doing,” said Mike Lane, Metro Market Manager for Robert Half, based in Raleigh, N.C. “We also provide regular acknowledgement for positive results. For instance, in Raleigh, we send out weekly office-wide emails highlighting good performance.”

The most important of the performance review tips, he said, is to address behavior on the job — both good and bad — without delay.

“In our business, we’ve seen these quick measures remedy situations that otherwise might have led to more lasting consequences. As we tell our clients, if a consultant or full-time employee knows what they’re doing right and what they can improve upon, it’s a win for everyone.”

The new job performance review

A growing number of managers say they’re meeting one-on-one with employees more than once a year, according to Robert Half research. More than a quarter (27 percent) of the companies hold reviews at least twice a year to evaluate performance, a 9-point jump from a similar survey five years previously.

The survey also shows that 89 percent of managers and 75 percent of workers rate these performance reviews as at least someone effective.

We’ve found that meeting the goal of checking in often with staff and providing informal feedback and career development throughout the year keeps everyone on the same page. There’s less of a build-up of negative feelings at work, and job issues can be resolved quicker and easier with regular performance check-ins.

How employees can improve their performance

No matter what the frequency is, a successful performance review begins with, well, successful performance. Here are some areas CFOs interviewed for a Robert Half Finance & Accounting survey cited as key for them during employee reviews:

More than half of CFOs said they give equal billing to soft skills and to technical expertise when filling staff-level positions. When it comes to job advancement, both continue to rank high, so one can assume those areas will show up in a performance review. ;

For employees, setting a goal to make good impressions at work, which will show up in performance reviews, starts with small, everyday efforts to improve their performance. Here are a few to try:

  1. Show your adaptability. One way to demonstrate this attribute is to become more proficient in the latest finance software or to attend seminars, webinars and courses to build your job skills.
  2. Take initiative. This could be expanding your career expertise in some way, anticipating an upcoming task and tackling it beforehand, mentoring or providing assistance to a colleague, or doing something for the greater team, like volunteering to lead an initiative not yet assigned to someone.
  3. Speak positively. Talking energetically about the company and the work you do goes beyond your role and deliverables, and contributes to an overall positive workplace.

Now, what do employees wish you'd do to be a better boss?

Big picture conversations for employers

For supervisors and employers, here are a few performance review tips that take advantage of the new workplace trends of less-structured and career-focused check-ins.

  1. Don’t wait to offer feedback. If an issue with performance exists, address it right away.
  2. Be prepared, not scripted. It’s important to bring relevant examples and talking points to your job discussion, but the more free-flowing it is, the better. Try for a give-and-take conversation rather than a one-sided one.
  3. Uncover key motivators. Knowing what your needs are for this position, in addition to the employee’s expectations and career goals, is a vital step to creating common goals, providing useful feedback and measuring progress at work.

The world of work is changing — as it always has and will continue to do — and agile solutions, flexible working opportunities and direct, open and honest feedback are the new workplace watchwords to look for in the new year.

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