Making the Most of Performance Reviews

In most large businesses the Performance Review is an institutionalized annual ritual that few people look forward to. In most real estate offices it’s a practice that rarely happens at all. Providing performance feedback is an important part of your job as a manager and a necessary tool if you want to build a strong and productive team. In a small business, performance reviews serve several important functions.

  1. To improve employee performance.
  2. To guide employee training and development.
  3. To maintain records for legal purposes.
  4. To receive reverse feedback for your own development as a manager.
  5. To identify issues that may cause your assistant to leave.

Most of the time feedback about performance related issues shouldn’t be saved for a review; it should be shared in real time so that course corrections can be made immediately. However, a formalized review process provides a structure for addressing a whole range of performance related issues and creates a safe space for your employee to share their perspective. Ideally reviews should occur every 3 to 6 months. Waiting 1 year between reviews is far too long.

My final two reasons for conducting a performance review are not as commonly thought of so I want to touch on them in a bit more detail.

#4. To receive reverse feedback for your own development as a manager.

In my opinion, a performance review is an excellent opportunity to receive some feedback on your own performance as a manager. It might feel uncomfortable but the truth is you may be inadvertently doing or saying things that impact the productivity of your office without even knowing it. I would encourage you to ask your employee for feedback on how you can improve as a manager, communicator, and leader.

#5. To identify issues that may cause your assistant to leave.

In some ways this ties in closely with item #4 yet, there is a broader scope to consider here. If you are happy with your employee and you want them to stay you need to understand why they are with you and what reasons they might have to leave. Finding out why want to stay is equally important as it clues you in on what you are doing right. Use the performance review to discuss career advancement, monetary goals, work / life balance, etc. I find that talented employees in stable jobs choose to leave for the following reasons, in this order:

  1. More professional growth.
  2. Better working conditions: fewer or more flexible hours, shorter commute, more positive working environment, etc.
  3. More money.

Money is rarely the single motivating factor. If you understand what motivates your employee, and what they need, you can do a better job of meeting those needs and keeping a valued member of your team.

We recently wrote about intrinsic motivators in a previous newsletter. People tend to express their talents and do their best work in an environment that encourages creativity and autonomy. Like you, your employees seek a future where they can see purpose in their work and balance in their personal life. If we bring to light the little recurring problems and foibles a fresh set of opportunities will often present itself.

Recall those three things a good employee might leave for. By utilizing the Performance Review correctly you can identify and correct issues early and as a result enjoy: More growth. More time. More money.