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Build a Better Performance Review by Incorporating Values-Based Criteria

Want to improve your performance review process?

Most managers do.  People are your most valuable asset, but traditional performance reviews may fall short for any number of reasons:

  • Appraisals may be subjective. Appraisals often reflect what a manager remembers (typically the most recent events).  Managers may write traditional reviews based on their opinions because real performance management takes substantial time and follow-up to do well.
  • Evaluators may not be skilled in providing effective feedback.  Most managers aren’t properly trained in how to provide specific feedback based on employee behaviors.  To boot, managers often feel uncomfortable in the role of “judge.”  As a result, they may avoid giving honest, direct feedback in order to maintain workplace harmony.
  • Managers may not use performance evaluations properly. Because evaluations have proven ineffective in the past, many managers don’t see the value in conducting them properly.  Alternately, they may misuse reviews as a way to reprimand employees – instead of using them to improve performance.

So if traditional methods don’t work, what does?

The truth is, there is no “right” way to conduct an effective performance review.  An appraisal system that works for one company may not be effective for another.

In recent years, however, an increasing number of organizations have recognized the impact corporate values have on their ability to be competitive.  They’ve realized that when employees’ daily work behaviors support company values, the result is an organization that’s more unified, mission-driven, and ultimately more successful.  To evaluate and drive performance, these companies have moved away from the traditional appraisal process, in favor of a values-based review system.

A values-based performance evaluation is exactly what it sounds like – a company uses its core values as the framework on which they build a performance appraisal system.  With a little creativity, you can use these tips for incorporating values-based criteria to build a better review process for your company:

  1. Clearly communicate your company’s mission, vision, and values. Communicate your values and core beliefs through handbooks, message boards, orientation programs, training, and daily reinforcement by company leaders.  If you want employees’ performance to be driven by these values, you must make them clear every day.
  2. Articulate your company’s values in terms of behaviors.  For each position, identify a list of specific work behaviors associated with each core value.  For example, if “innovation” is a core value, an effective work behavior might be “redesigning workflow processes, based on changes in the market, operational needs or available resources.”Conversely, an ineffective behavior could be “uses only established methods for getting work done, without considering changes that impact the efficiency of the procedure.”  Strive to identify the 10 to 15 most important values-based work behaviors needed for success in each type of position.
  3. Solicit feedback.  No change in your review process will succeed unless you have buy-in from top to bottom.  Once you’ve developed behavior lists, share them with others in your organization (including the employees who will be subject to review) and solicit feedback.  Make sure senior management has the opportunity to review and refine the lists before they’re implemented.
  4. Check understanding. Make it clear to your employees that they will be judged on the new criteria you’ve established.  Provide employees with a list of the new standards you will use to evaluate them so that everyone understands what is expected.
  5. Make values a part of everyday management. Once you’ve established new criteria, don’t just file them away until it’s review time.  Make them part of your everyday management.  When you make a decision, relate it to a value.  When you reprimand or praise, refer to a value. Help your employees achieve their performance goals by continually reminding them of what your company stands for.  Small as these actions may sound, they go a long way toward bringing core values alive in your organization – and ultimately driving employee performance.

A.R. Mazzotta was founded on the principle of providing employment services of the finest quality and unsurpassed customer service. Incorporating valuable lessons learned from over 40 years of experience, our company values are the cornerstone of our business culture. Uncompromising integrity and the highest professional ethical principles are woven into every aspect of our business. And, we are committed to the communities in which we work and live.

Remaining true to this founding vision, our expertise is in extending personalized service and crafting customized staffing solutions to produce quality placements. We understand your business, philosophy, culture, and goals. We understand the talents and career goals of our candidates. That’s how we deliver positive results. And that is why companies and job seekers have trusted A.R. Mazzotta for generations.