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How to Choose a Performance Review Schedule

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Stephanie Davis

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While the standard for performance reviews has long been to conduct them only at year-end, there are many arguments stating that an annual performance review is an outdated process. With businesses evolving and the best practices that follow that evolution, performance reviews have also been on the receiving end of some upheaval in recent years. Below you’ll learn about some other ways you can conduct performance reviews in your small business, and ways to improve upon the annual performance review process should that be the best option for you and your employees. 

Weekly One on Ones

In an era of near-constant feedback, many employees and managers favor the system of weekly one-on-ones. Sitting down once a week, even for just 30 minutes, allows you and your employees to check-in and stay up to date on what is going in their workweek. The advantage of this method is that key details and events are recent and top of mind, allowing you to highlight good work practices and correct misses before they become issues. It’s easier to catch performance problems when you meet weekly instead of letting things fester and potentially get worse through the end of the year. While one-on-ones may touch on performance, they can also be used to chat about how things are going at your small business and discuss development opportunities with your employees. Meeting more frequently can also help you tap into employee buy-in to make sure that your employees feel supported and engaged in their work.

Quarterly Performance Reviews

While managing a small business, you might not have the chance to sit down with your employees every week due to the nature of your business or workload. A quarterly review still gives you a chance to check in more frequently than annual reviews without having to meet all the time. Here at SurePayroll, we follow a quarterly review system. Except for our busy season, employees sit down with their leaders and answer four questions every quarter to help measure their performance and growth over the prior months. It’s an easy way for employees and leaders to know what to expect and provides a guide for the conversation. Since there are often hard deadlines associated with quarterly reviews, it’s easy for both parties to make a plan and have time to prepare for these meetings to make them as effective as they can be.  

Bi-Annual Performance Reviews

If sitting down four times a year seems too frequent for your small business, you may favor a bi-annual performance review. A bi-annual performance review will still give you the chance to check in with your employee before the end of the year and have discussions about how things are going. Since there is a larger gap between meetings, organization will be key since it’s easy to forget about something that happened in January if you are meeting in June. As a small business owner or manager, you should make sure to keep notes throughout the year to make sure you don’t miss opportunities to celebrate jobs well done or provide feedback to steer an employee back on the right track. Making sure you’re using both of your time effectively is key, so the employee feels like it was a good use of their time and they leave the meeting knowing what they need to do to improve.

Annual Performance Reviews

While it may not be the favored approach these days, an annual performance review is still better than no review at all, and may still be the best method for your small business. When following an annual performance review process, there are a few things to keep in mind to make the process the best and most comfortable process it can be for you and your employees. While being prepared and organized before any performance review is necessary, this becomes extra important when tackling annual performance reviews. Since the days move quickly, it’s easy to forget about the little things that your employee excelled at over the past year. This, again, is where it’s beneficial for you to take notes on your employees’ activities throughout the year so you can address them during this time. Additionally, meeting once a year usually carries a little extra pressure, as employees tend to expect you to discuss raises and promotions on a yearly basis as well.

Bottom Line

In most businesses, some type of performance review is going to be expected. With the options above, you will be able to find a practice that fits your business and ensures effective communication with your team. No matter the format you choose, ensure that you are prepared and can deliver feedback, including negative, in a calm and professional manner.

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This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. SurePayroll is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, SurePayroll. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant. If you require legal or accounting advice or need other professional assistance, you should always consult your licensed attorney, accountant or other tax professional to discuss your particular facts, circumstances and business needs.