Every business, no matter the size, should conduct employee performance reviews at least once a year. This process gives employers a chance to let employees know that they are valued and that their efforts are appreciated, and it also affords an opportunity to address any areas that may need improvement.

As an employer, it's not easy to have to tell an employee that there may be aspects of their performance that you are not happy with, but it is essential to overall productivity and job satisfaction, and will significantly impact the success of your business.

It is important to establish good honest two-way communication in your employee reviews. You can overcome the uncomfortable aspects of the review by sticking to these few simple rules.

1. Don't try to improvise during the interview. Be prepared. Write out an agenda and a script outline for the meeting, and practice it beforehand so you're familiar with it and so that you can carry on regardless of the employee's response to any negative comments.

2. Start the meeting with a bit of small talk to put you both at ease.

3. Summarize the employee's overall performance first of all, so that the employee will not spend the rest of the review trying to figure out where he stands. The employee may want to discuss his rating immediately, but try to put this off until after you thoroughly review the employee's overall performance.

4. Review the employee's strengths first. Reaffirm the importance of hers contributions to your business before dealing with any weaknesses she may have exhibited.

5. Unless the employee's performance is truly exceptional, there are probably at least some areas that show room for improvement. When reviewing weaknesses, be as specific as possible, citing examples, particularly if discussing something like an employee's general attitude.

6. Do not be confrontational or argumentative. Do not offer general personal criticism. Your goal is to evaluate the person's job performance, and to improve employee morale.

7. Give the employee a chance to provide his thoughts and input, so that he knows that you value his opinions. This open atmosphere will encourage employees to discuss any real concerns they have and to address those concerns in a satisfactory manner.

8. The employee may take issue with your assessment. In that case, let her know that while you understand that she may not agree with you, this will not affect the review.

9. Be consistent in your reviews. All employees should be reviewed on the same criteria, relative to their job requirements. Exemplary efforts should be praised, and weak performers should be told that they need to improve.

10. Recap the employee's overall performance. If a raise or promotion is forthcoming, give the employee details of the raise / promotion and the date on which it will become effective.

11. The review offers an opportunity to discuss the employee's future career plans and to look at what opportunities for advancement may exist within the company.

12. Unless the employee's performance is very unsatisfactory, you should always end the review on a positive note, confirming how much the company values and appreciates the employee's efforts.

Conduct your employee evaluations on a regular basis, so that everyone knows when to expect them. This avoids conducting a review only when necessitated by an employee's poor performance.

Employee reviews should boost morale and help sustain a high level of performance and productivity. If your staff feels appreciated and adequately compensated for their efforts, their job satisfaction increases, turnover levels are minimal, and employees are motivated to do their best.

The Employee Evaluation Form for Performance Review is a valuable tool to help you record your thoughts, comments, questions and discussion points throughout the interview. You can purchase and download this form, and many more Personnel Forms, safely and hassle-free at MegaDox.com

Author's Bio: 

Heather M. Cuthill is the Operations Manager and a partner of MegaDox.com, which has been providing quality legal and business forms to our online customers since 1999. Ms. Cuthill has 25 years experience in the legal field as a Legal Assistant and works closely with our network of lawyers and content providers to ensure that we continue to provide high quality, accurate and compliant legal forms and content to our site visitors.