Provisional Blog

5 Year-End Performance Review Mistakes to Avoid

December 11th, 2018

From entry-level employees all the way up to top-level managers, no one likes performance reviews. However, they play an important role in giving feedback, setting goals, and keeping people on track. So how can you go about conducting them in a way that’s as painless as possible this year? Provisional – one of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho’s top staffing firms – has the answers you need. Here’s a look at a few common mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1: Not preparing.

You owe it to your employees to invest the time and effort to prepare for each review. If you don’t, the conversation isn’t going to lead to the kind of meaningful insight you need it to. Instead, it’s going to be unstructured and unproductive. That’s why it’s important to prepare for any feedback well ahead of time.

Mistake #2: Not telling the employee until the last minute.

Employees should know in advance when their review will take place. In addition, you should create an agenda outlining the areas to be discussed, so they can fully prepare ahead of time, too. This will not only give them a chance to get ready mentally, but also think through any issues, questions or areas they’d like to discuss with you.

Mistake #3: Giving empty compliments.

Employees don’t want to hear they’re doing a good job. They want to know that you really liked how they handled the Smith account and you were impressed with their ability to persuade the client to sign on for more services. It’s a big difference and when you give specific feedback, it will do a lot more to motivate and encourage your staff.

Mistake #4: Conducting them once a year.

In reality, you should be keeping tabs on employee performance throughout the entire year. While you might have one, year-end formal review, you should also have many mini-feedback sessions in between. That way, employees are always clear on expectations, where they stand, and won’t have a chance to get too far off track.

Mistake #5: Not having them at all.

This is perhaps the biggest mistake of all. Not having regular performance reviews takes away an opportunity with you to connect with each team member on a personal level, revisit goals and expectations, and ensure you’re both on the same page. In terms of the big picture, it can also provide employees a time in which to discuss career development and advancement, which can go a long way in retaining them.

Need help hiring great performers for your team?

Call Provisional. As one of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho’s top staffing firms, we can help you source, screen, evaluate and hire the high-level people you need, so you can build the strongest team possible. Contact us today to learn more.

5 Tips for Preparing for Your Performance Review

December 5th, 2017

As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows that the end of the year is a busy time. From wrapping up work projects to the hustle and bustle that come with the holidays, you’re stretched thin. On top of that, you have a performance review to get through. How can you prepare and actually make the most of the conversation? With these tips:

Tip #1: Take inventory.

When you walk into your next performance review, you want to be prepared. That means taking stock of your past performance over the year so you can bring up career highs and lows with your boss. For instance, plan to discuss your achievements, new skills you acquired, and responsibilities you took on, as well as any challenges you faced throughout the year.

Tip #2: Set goals.

In other words, what do you want to get out of your performance review? Are you simply looking for feedback from your boss? Do you want to get promoted? Are you having a hard time meeting expectations and need some guidance? Whatever the case is for you, it’s important to define what you want to get out of the review so you can get the most from it.

Tip #3: Know your numbers.

Another important area to focus on during your performance review involves salary and compensation. If you’re looking for a raise from your boss, then you need to prove your worth. That means knowing how much you make versus how much others in similar positions make. If there’s a big disparity, you’ll need these numbers to back you up in your case for a raise.

Tip #4: Practice your performance.

If you’re asking for a raise or a promotion, then practice what you plan to say. You don’t need to rehearse it to the point where you’re reciting a script verbatim. However, if you want to make the successful argument for yourself, then you need to be persuasive – and you don’t want nerves to get in the way. That’s why it’s important to practice ahead of time.

Tip #5: Dress to impress.

Your boss might see you every day in jeans and sneakers. But if you want to make the best impression possible – and set the tone for the review – take your wardrobe up a notch. If you don’t work in a more formal environment, a suit and tie might be overkill. However, do make sure you look polished, neat and professional when you walk into your boss’s office.

Ready to deliver a great performance – just in another job?

Call the job search experts at Provisional. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can help you with every step of the job search process, from resume and cover letter writing to job leads and interviews. Contact us today if you’re ready to get started.

How to Toot Your Own Horn in a Performance Review

December 9th, 2014

You’ve spent the past year working hard for your employer. You’ve landed new clients, successfully managed projects, and now it’s your turn to get some recognition for your efforts. But did you also know it’s up to you to toot your own horn during your performance review? Otherwise, all those great results could go unnoticed by your boss. Here’s how to get the recognition your deserve:

Create a brag book.

As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, Provisional can tell you if you try to recall in December what you accomplished in February, it can be hard to remember details. Instead, create a document that helps you keep track of your achievements. Every time you accomplish a goal, go above and beyond, or get positive feedback, log it in your book. Think too how each accomplishment helped the company. Before your performance evaluation, review your brag book so your accomplishments are fresh in your mind for your sit-down with your boss.

Get specific.

Don’t just tell your boss you’ve “done a great job this year.” Get specific about the value you’re offering each day. Think of two or three major accomplishments you’d like your boss to be aware of and focus on those. Be sure to not only describe the accomplishments, but also how they impacted the company in a positive way.

For instance, if you successfully managed a major project, was it because it came in under budget, you completed it before the deadline, or you delivered terrific results? Whatever the case, be sure to focus on the facts and not vague statements.

Ask peers to provide input to your boss.

In a perfect world, your boss should be soliciting feedback from co-workers for performance reviews. However, most are too busy to take this step. So, take it for them by asking your colleagues to put in a good word for you with the boss.

How do you ask? Keep it simple: “I have a performance review next week and since we’re working on XYZ project together, I was hoping you could share some feedback of my work with our manager.”

If you’re ready to make a change to a new job in the new year, call Provisional. As one of the leading employment firms in Spokane, WA, we can work directly with you to craft a great resume, prepare for interviews, and match you with Spokane jobs that are a fit for your background, skills, personality and career goals.

Contact us today if you’re ready to get started.

How to Make Your Performance Review Pay Off

December 20th, 2011

As one of Coeur d’Alene’s top employment agencies, we know that there are some people in this world that actually look forward to performance reviews. These are the same people who enjoy going to the dentist and proofreading Chinese food menus.

However, if you’re like most people, you fall into the former category, not the latter – and prepping for a performance review can be stressful.

But rather than dreading your review, look at it an opportunity to improve performance and strengthen your position within the company. Here’s how:

Keep an open mind.

Even if you’ve done a great job, you’re not perfect. Therefore, your boss will probably have some constructive feedback to offer you. If he or she does, take it with an open mind. Don’t get defensive and dismissive. Instead, view it as an opportunity to shore up your weaknesses and build on your successes in the future.

Prove your worth.

Before your performance review, put together a summary of accomplishments and goals you’ve met throughout the year. Give specific, concrete examples of how you’ve contributed in a positive way to your company. Toot your own horn a little bit. Your boss may not know about every piece of positive client feedback you’ve gotten, or an instance when you put out a fire with some quick thinking, so now’s the time to show how you’ve gone above and beyond.

Demonstrate growth.

If in your last performance review, your boss pointed out a weak spot, then be prepared to show how you’ve overcome it throughout the course of the year.

Be proactive.

If you know areas where you need to improve, then develop a plan for how to overcome those issues and meet expectations before you go into the meeting. Your boss will be impressed with your proactive nature and likely relieved that you’re already aware of your weaknesses.

Avoid nasty surprises.

As one of Coeur d’Alene’s top employment agencies, we know there’s nothing worse than going into a performance review thinking it will be a positive experience, and then walking away stunned due to all the negative feedback your boss gave you.

To avoid this kind of situation, seek input from your boss throughout the year. Check in with him or her periodically; offer a status report on your progress and ask for thoughts or feedback. Use that as a guide to address – and hopefully overcome – any shortcomings before your performance review.

6 Mistakes Managers Make When Evaluating Employee Performance

August 9th, 2011

As one of the top Northwest staffing firms, we know that conducting performance reviews is a difficult – yet critical – task for managers. When done well, they can serve to motivate employees, strengthen relationships, provide opportunities for training and development, and improve accountability, as well as get under-performing employees back on track.

However, when it comes to conducting these reviews, many managers make the same mistakes over and over, undermining the review’s effectiveness in the process. To help you avoid mistakes in the future, here’s a look at 6 of them:

Mistake #1: The Halo/Horn Effect

This mistake occurs when you allow a favorable (halo) or unfavorable (horn) trait of an employee to impact your entire judgment of that employee. As a result, you ignore either weaknesses or strengths and aren’t able to offer accurate and comprehensive feedback. For instance, if you have an employee who is friendly and easy going, you may have a tendency to overlook some of their less-than-favorable traits or results because you like the person.

Mistake #2: Bias

We all have personal biases for whatever reason. But when it comes to evaluating an employee’s performance, it can be easy to let those biases cloud your judgment, making the evaluation process unfair and inconsistent. So know your biases and work hard not to let them impact your overall assessment of an employee.

Mistake #3: Leniency

Rules and standards are only as effective as the people who enforce them. And if you’re being too lenient in rating employees or offering inflated appraisals, then you’re not giving the employee an opportunity to correct mediocre or poor performance. Furthermore, if you need to terminate that employee down the line, it will be more difficult to do so if their appraisals are always undeservedly good.

Mistake #4: Being Ill-Prepared

Being busy isn’t an excuse for not preparing for performance reviews. If your people are your most important asset, then managing them effectively through feedback should be a priority. What’s more is that being unprepared for a performance review sends the message to your employees that the reviews aren’t really all that important.

Mistake #5: Avoiding Tough Decisions

This non-committal attitude occurs when you rate an employee as “satisfactory” because you want to avoid having an awkward conversation or making tough decisions. But the fact of the matter is that problems rarely, if ever, correct themselves. So by not confronting the issue head on, you are simply prolonging a painful process that you will eventually have to dealt with.

Mistake #6: Not Following Up

If you set goals and expectations, but don’t follow up with your employees on progress, all that work will be for nothing. Performance management shouldn’t be viewed as an annual activity; it should be a daily activity.

The bottom line is that the mistakes above can compromise the trust and value of your appraisal process. Therefore it’s important to be aware of them and go out of your way to avoid them.

And if you need help implementing a performance review process, please contact Provisional. With more than 16 years of experience as one of the top Northwest staffing firms, we have the knowledge and expertise to help you recruit, hire, retain and manage star performers.

How to Get a Problem Employee Back on Track

December 21st, 2010

When it comes to an under-performing employee at your Spokane company, it can be tempting to ignore the problem or go to the other extreme and dismiss the employee altogether. But, in some cases, fixing an existing problem is less expensive than recruiting, hiring, and training a new employee. So here are some ways to help you deal with this tricky situation.

Identify the Problem

First, you should identify the problem and try to find the reasons behind it. For instance, maybe the employee isn’t in the right role and needs to be re-assigned. Possibly, the employee is having personal or family issues that are impacting their work quality. Or, as is sometimes the case, the problem could be an indication of a bigger management issue in the department or at the company as a whole. Whatever the reason, the only way to find out is to talk to the employee privately.

If the performance issue rests solely with the employee, not with management, then your next step should be to work with the employee to develop a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). In simplest terms, a PIP is a plan to help an employee improve his or her performance. Here are the steps to take to develop an effective PIP:

  • List what performance areas needs improvement. Be as specific as possible. Don’t talk about behaviors, talk about results. For instance, don’t say “Your aren’t being productive enough.” Instead, say something like: “You’re often quite late in the morning, which is impacting your ability to get your work done.”
  • Also describe the expected standard of performance. Be very clear, using examples, about how you expect the employee to perform in the future.
  • Let your employee know what resources, training, materials, and support you will provide to help them meet expectations. For example, an employee might need to participate in a training program in order to gain knowledge and skills to perform their job better.
  • Create a plan for offering feedback to your employee. Let them know when and with whom they will be meeting to discuss performance. Be specific when it comes to the measurements you will be using to evaluate performance. Also, make clear the consequences of not meeting performance expectations.

Once you’ve developed the PIP, make sure your HR department reviews the plan to ensure it’s consistent with company policy and that it treats the employee fairly. And if, throughout the process, you and your HR department determine the employee is not making acceptable progress, it may then be necessary to take disciplinary action, such as verbal and/or written reprimands and if those don’t work, a suspension from work. If the employee is still not willing or able to make progress, then it may be necessary to terminate them.

In the future, conducting regular performance reviews can help you tackle performance issues. At the very least, conduct reviews annually, but you’d be even better served by conducting performance reviews every few months. That way, any issues that arise can be addressed quickly and don’t come as a surprise to the employee. In addition, by having frequent performance reviews, you can set smaller, more achievable goals and check in more regularly on whether goals are being accomplished.

And if you need help finding top-performing employees in Spokane, please contact Provisional. As a leading Spokane staffing agency, we can help you find experienced, reliable, and skilled employees for temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire positions. Contact us today to learn more!

6 Tips for Conducting Better Performance Reviews

November 2nd, 2010

The end of the year is rapidly approaching, which means it’s time to start thinking about scheduling those dreaded employee performance reviews. While most employers – and employees – are uncomfortable with the process (after all, who likes giving or getting criticism), these reviews are a great opportunity to offer feedback, and revisit expectations and goals.

As an experienced Spokane staffing agency, we’ve put together some tips and advice to help make the review process a little less painful for you:

1. Create a performance file on each employee.

At the end of the year, it can be difficult to remember the good, the bad, and the ugly about every employee you’re reviewing. To make it easier, create a performance file for each employee and make notes throughout the year about their performance. Include letters from customers, copies of work (good or bad), and notes to yourself. While it’s too late to create files for this year’s reviews, consider implementing this idea to make next year’s performance review process easier.

2. Use an evaluation form.

A week before performance reviews, hand out evaluation forms to be completed by your employees. On the form, you should ask employees to note specific objectives and goals they have achieved over the course of the past year, what areas need improvement, and what their short- and long-term career goals are. Employees are often aware of their short-comings and this form helps to open the door to discuss them, as well as the more positive aspects of their performance.

3. Get input from others.

When appropriate, get feedback and specific performance examples from other staff members or from customers.

4. Set the tone with a positive.

Always start each performance review with a positive. This is a good time to tell each employee how much you value their hard work.

5. Be specific.

When you do have a criticism to offer an employee, it’s important to be as specific as possible. Give the employee an example where they didn’t meet expectations. Don’t just say something like: “You’re not a good communicator.” Instead, consider something like: “Some of the mistakes you’ve made are a result of not asking enough questions at the start of each project.”

6. Review regularly.

Implement a policy for regular performance reviews. For instance, make sure you evaluate employees every year. For new hires, you may want to conduct performance reviews at the three-month and six-month marks, as well.

Another reason you should consider regular reviews is to avoid having to conduct a review prompted solely due to bad behavior or poor performance. This can imply that information is being collected to document the poor performance should the employee be fired.

And if you need help implementing a performance review process, please contact Provisional, a Spokane staffing agency with over 16 years of experience.