The Dreaded Performance Review: Two Methodologies

Situation: We set objectives for employees; however these objectives frequently aren’t met, and there are lots of excuses for not meeting objectives. Most frustrating, employees are eager to share good news, but hide bad news and performance issues. What do other CEOs do to prevent these problems?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • A service company’s method:
    • Frequent measurement of performance against objectives.
    • Key metrics are monitored with top staff in weekly meetings that last tops one hour. We use a problem solving approach to address obstacles and to correct performance.
    • The CEO watches the direction, and staff makes the changes to make corrections to direction.
    • The trick is in the metrics. Metrics must measure meaningful performance and be tied directly to the company objectives.
  • A light manufacturing company’s method:
    • Historically the CEO had a problem holding on to non-performing individuals for too long.
    • He addressed this by instituting objectives and eliminating non-performers. The result: reduced complacency, and improved morale because performing employees were tired of taking up the slack for non-performers.
    • Documentation of non-performance and establishing a solid case for eliminating the employee are critical to avoiding wrongful termination suits.
  • General Observation: if a company has objectives, but lacks meaningful metrics to measure performance against objectives or a regular review process to assess performance against objectives, then the objectives are meaningless.
    • The CEOs’ experience is that establishing meaningful SMART (Specific, Measurable, Appropriate, Realistic, Time-Bound) objectives and regularly assessing performance in a collaborative atmosphere are the most important ingredients to an effective performance management system.

Key Words: Performance, Objectives, SMART Objectives, Employee Reviews, Performance Reviews 
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