3 Ways to Motivate Employees through the Performance Review Process

By | April 26, 2010 | BPM, Solutions

In today’s job market, many employees are concerned about their job security (and rightfully so!).  So how do you motivate employees to achieve in an unstable job environment?  The performance review process can be a valuable human resources tool, not only because it encourages employees to improve  job performance, but also because it can reveal to employers what their employees need in order to make those improvements.

Here are three tips for a performance review process designed to help motivate employees to succeed:

1.  The performance review process should be employee-centered: When the evaluation originates with the employer, it feels like judgment day.  When it begins and ends with the employee, it becomes about self-reflection, goal-setting, and personal improvement.  Who is better qualified to assess your own work than you? By taking the “judgment” factor out of a performance review, it can help an employee to reflect on the meaning of his work.

And when an employee feels that his job is meaningful, he develops an internal drive that motivates him much more than any external reward could (don’t get me wrong — external rewards are important (more on this in my next post!)).  Use the performance review process to encourage employees to reflect on their professional goals, and how those goals fit into the company’s larger goals.  Then together you can frame a “big-picture” that adds personal significance, and motivation, to the work at hand.

2.  The performance review process should be future-focused: This may seem counter-intuitive, since  a performance evaluation can only assess and give feedback on past work.  However, rather than dwelling on the past, focus the evaluation on how the employee can build on past successes / struggles in the future.  This way the performance assessment process serves as a useful time for reflection and improvement towards larger goals.

3.  The performance review process should be a dialogue:  The performance assessment process gives managers and employees an opportunity to sit down and converse about the employee’s work, goals, ambitions, strengths, and areas to improve.  Remember, the employee is not the only one who has something to learn from the performance evaluation process — rather, the manager can also learn a lot from the exchange.  Try to approach the performance review as a conversation, rather than an evaluation, and you may find that you learn a great deal about how you can support your employees to succeed.

With these tips in mind, a good place to begin the performance review process is with an Employee Self-Evaluation Form.  What goals did he have for the past year?  Did he achieve those goals?  Which goals evolved into something new?  Where does he see himself at this same time next year?  What does he see his role at the company?  What support does he need from the company to achieve those goals?  Use this form to spark discussion and as a starting point fot the evaluation.