Staff performance reviews are essential for a healthy business – they present a structured environment for you to manage staff activity and they let employees know how they are doing. But reviews can be tricky and time consuming- so Medical Forum has a few suggestions to smooth the bumps in the road.

Setting the stage. When an employee is first taken on or a major change in role is required, their position description should be clearly documented and explained. A job description that outlines all duties provides security for both workers and employers and is essential to effective staff management.

Regular reviews. These create a secure workplace in which employees are clear about their expectations. Weekly, monthly, or quarterly reviews give the opportunity to measure and maintain performance.

Review documentation. Draw up a formal review document for employees to fill out, rating how they perceive their performance against requisite criteria for the position. They should be requested to write down any special achievements or highlights that show how they have added to the success of the business in the review period.

Their say. Employees should be able to use the review to openly air any constructive criticisms or suggestions about running the practice – their insight can often be invaluable, especially if they feel safe in expressing themselves. Accept any criticism gracefully and if you disagree, clearly explain your position.

Review Techniques. Be prepared – read their assessment and prepare any questions you have for them. Always pay close attention to what the employee is saying. Maintain eye contact and take notes if necessary. Listen for hidden issues and ask for clarification. The information you glean will help you best manage your staff and an attentive attitude will build employee trust.

Feedback. Feedback should be specific, clear, and positive. Positive achievements are emphasised and praised. Rather than criticising poor performance directly, examine what issues may be affecting the staff member. Ask them why they believe they are not at 100% and attempt to negotiate a solution.

Rewards. Establish clear guidelines for growth. A bonus system creates a performance incentive for staff, whilst periodical salary growth emphasises security and longevity. Make your employees clearly aware of what will be rewarded and how they can achieve it.

Ongoing maintenance. Any issues highlighted in a review should be flagged for further assessment during successive reviews. This will construct an overall picture of employee performance and satisfaction and ensure easier decisions in the future. Keep employees aware that you are tracking issues – it will encourage them to work on their weaknesses and reassure them that you appreciate their strengths.

Warnings. Apart from gross carelessness, negligence, or illegal conduct, employees require warnings in writing with the opportunity to rectify their performance before you consider dismissing them.

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