The Importance of Performance Reviews

Performance reviews in 2020

Let’s be honest, 2020 was (insert favorite cliché here). You may have closed your doors for a period, completely changed your practice model, faced illness and absences, or created new scheduling capabilities to allow your employees more flexibility.

With these many changes in 2020, you may be thinking of skipping annual performance reviews. You might be asking yourself… What’s the point? It wasn’t a “normal year."

Wrong! With all the changes this year, it's critical to acknowledge your team’s contributions and identify performance gaps so you can set a path forward in 2021.

Conduct a successful performance review

Here are 10 tips for conducting successful performance reviews.

Go back to basics.

Do you have clear performance objectives for each of your employees? If not, this should be your top priority in 2021. You can’t measure performance if there are no written objectives.

Do your homework.

Block time on your calendar before the scheduled session to plan the dialogue so you are prepared, unhurried, and focused. Think about how your employee contributed to your practice in 2020 and areas for improvement. 

Acknowledge 2020 wasn’t “normal."

Take time at the beginning of the review to discuss how business goals changed during the course of the year and any performance objectives that may have shifted. Thank them for their flexibility and understanding.

Don't leave room for surprises.

Annual performance review feedback should be a culmination of activities achieved throughout the year. Have frequent feedback sessions with your employees so they know your perception of their performance on a regular basis, not only at annual review time.

Acknowledge the recency effect.

Leaders tend to give higher weight to more recent action items, good or bad. Remember you are evaluating their performance for the entire year. 

Set clear objectives.

If there are performance gaps, set clear, actionable, time-based objectives for improvement. Describe the behaviors and actions that define an “exceeds” employee to gain further understanding.

Leave pay out of it.

If you offer annual merit increases, tell the employee at the beginning that you will not be discussing compensation during the review. The conversation loses meaning since the employee may rush through to the end in anticipation of pay changes.

Acknowledge the bell curve.

Not everybody gets a trophy! Before you start reviews, calibrate your team’s performance to determine who the highest achievers are. Ideally, ratings should fall on a bell curve.

Block more time to set goals.

A performance review can launch into a fantastic dialogue about 2021 goals and action items needed to accomplish them.

Ask for questions.

Your employee may have questions during the evaluation, but some people need time to process. Provide a copy of the review and give them time to reflect. Thoughtful questions may surface a few days later that lead to healthy dialogue and clarity of expectations.

Your employees are the backbone of your practice. As a people leader, taking the time to review their performance is an act of caring to help them grow professionally and leads to greater employee engagement and satisfaction, ultimately leading to improved patient experiences and business results.

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