10 Steps for conducting a meaningful employee review

Great. Just great. On top of all the monthly reports due to the CEO, your advertising agency is clamoring for content feedback for the upcoming service line campaign, you need to prepare for being out of the office at a conference for three days, and now your HR department has reminded you (for the second time) that one of your key employees is due for an annual review by the end of the month.

Take a deep breath, exhale, and read the following steps to help you organize your thoughts and conduct a meaningful review for both your employee and you.

1. Review the current job description for the position

Does it coincide with the duties the employee is tasked with? If not, now is the time to make updates. It’s also the perfect time to review the job description for any outdated or unclear language.

2. Review documents from previous review(s)

Note improvements year over year in areas that needed attention, as well as goals that were established for professional growth. Is the employee lagging behind, staying on track, or exceeding expectations?

3. Make a list of the employee’s stand-out moments and achievements for the past year

Tip: record notable moments as they happen throughout the year – it’s an ANNUAL review, not a “What happened in the last 30 days” review. I’s easy to assume that you’ll remember how well Mary Marketingassistant pulled that ROI report together for you before your presentation to the hospital CFO 6 months ago. But the truth is in the everyday hectic pace of your department, it’s a wonder you can even remember your own name after 8 hours, let alone what happened 6 months in the past.

4. Create a list of areas that need improvement, and goals to reach for

Tip: don’t wait until the annual review to bring up issues that should have been addressed as they happened. You run the risk of allowing small incidents to snowball into real performance problems. For example, if you notice that Sam Socialmedia is routinely posting  24 hours behind schedule, have a conversation with him immediately to determine if he has any barriers to completing his work on time. Perhaps he does not have timely access to the media calendar, or another department head has assigned priority work to him. Rather than waiting months to find out what is causing the performance behavior, work to modify or correct on a timely basis. Save the review for performance areas that need focused attention.

5. Solicit feedback from management personnel that interacts with the employee on a regular basis

Often this will bring additional positive feedback to the table, as well as to help determine if there are any common concerns or on-going performance missteps.

6. Armed with your review of documents, assembled lists and feedback solicitation, draft the review

Tip: evaluate the employee against the hospital’s core values, using a “+” for he/she exhibits that core value most of the time, a “+/-“ for he/she sometimes exhibits the core value, and sometimes not, and a “-“ for he/she exhibits the core value most of the time. The goal is 5+. More than 2 (+/-) or any (-) should send up a red flag re: is this employee a good fit for your organization.

7. In addition, create a 3-column chart with “Gets It”, “Wants It”, and “Capacity to Do It” headings

Score each column as “yes” or “no”.  Again, if there is a “no” in any column, it’s time to question if the employee is suited for their position.

8. Now organize your list of stand-out moments into a compilation of Strengths and Achievements

Include examples to illustrate your points, as well as to highlight positive feedback from management. For example: “You are a self-motivated employee. You consistently have the monthly media report complete and on my desk two days before it’s due, without any reminders from me”.

9. It’s even more important to give sound, clear examples when listing Opportunities for Improvement

State the area or assigned responsibility that needs attention, followed by an example and then a suggestion for how to address the issue. Example: “You sometimes go too far with a project before checking in and reviewing with me. While I appreciate your enthusiasm, we need to be sure we are on the same page before you spend a lot of time finalizing details. Let’s plan on daily check-ins on large projects, and weekly on smaller or on-going projects. That will keep us both on track”.

10. Conduct the review in a location where you can have an open discussion with your employee, and they feel comfortable responding to you

If possible, meet over lunch, at an off-site location, or minimally outside of your immediate office area. Conclude the review by reviewing the steps to creating a SMART plan, and set a date within two weeks to get together to review and discuss.

Annual reviews can cause angst and anxiety on both sides. Take the time and opportunity to help your employees succeed in their goals, and foster strong communication pathways. The result will be worth it!

For more tips on how to stay organized, download our Hospital Marketing Organizer tool.