Reviewing Employee Performance

Pamela Alton-Truitt Comments
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Do your employees know how you rate their performance? Do you have a policy of conducting regular reviews? Personnel need to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and know if they’re meeting your expectations. If you haven’t conducted a formal employee evaluation in the last six months, now is the time to assess your team’s responsibilities, adherence to policies and procedures, and overall achievement.

Assessing the quality of a person’s work is not easy. You have to know which areas to evaluate as well as which method to use. You might use specific forms with a concrete rating technique, or the process might be more informal.

You also need to be clear on what the review is meant to accomplish. An employee’s first evaluation usually occurs at the end of his 90-day probationary period. He should have received a Letter of Employment when he was hired, which outlined his job duties and goals. The 90-day review determines how well he is meeting company standards. Other assessments might be annual, to rate and improve general performance, or merit-based, to determine a pay increase or promotion.

What to Assess

Whichever type of review you are conducting, it should address the employee’s performance in these key areas:

  • Availability—The degree to which an employee follows rules concerning breaks, meal periods and attendance.
  • Adherence to policy—The degree to which an employee follows company rules and regulations.
  • Creativity—The degree to which an employee suggests ideas and discovers new and better ways of accomplishing the facility’s goals.
  • Dependability—The degree to which an employee can be relied upon to complete a job and work with little or no supervision.
  • Initiative—The degree to which an employee seeks out new tasks and expands his professional abilities.
  • Interpersonal relationships—The employee’s willingness and ability to communicate, cooperate and work with peers, supervisors and customers.
  • Job knowledge—The employee’s level of technical skill and education.
  • Productivity—The timeliness of the employee’s work.
  • Quality—The accuracy, detail and acceptability of the employee’s work.

After you’ve examined and discussed these general categories, the review can address specific job functions. These might include the employee’s competence in:

  • Renting and showing space
  • Collecting rent
  • Office administration, including daily deposits
  • File maintenance
  • Making collection calls
  • Handling unit auctions
  • Designing and conducting marketing programs
  • Maintaining facility ledgers
  • Reporting regularly to headquarters
  • Conducting maintenance and repairs or overseeing outsourced staff
  • Cleaning and relocking units when they become vacant
  • Maintaining the property’s overall cleanliness
  • Conducting daily lock checks and overlocks as well as regular audits of inventory
  • Selling locks and retail merchandise and matching the inventory to records
  • Maintaining occupancy levels and minimizing delinquencies
  • Hiring, training and supervising relief staff

The Evaluation Method

Most supervisors use forms to evaluate an employee’s job performance. You can design your own, purchase them from a local officesupply store, or download them from the Internet. Some forms will outline a specific grading method. If you need to devise your own, consider the following simple scale:

  • E (Excellent)
  • A (Above Average)
  • S (Satisfactory)
  • D (Decreased Performance)
  • U (Unsatisfactory)

You may also want to include an area in which you can write comments. Some topics to address include:

  • New accomplishments or abilities since the last evaluation
  • Areas for improvement
  • Goals to accomplish before the next evaluation
  • A general rating of the employee’s performance compared to the requirements of his position (using the same rating method applied in other sections)

Finally, leave space for the employee to write comments about the review process. He may wish to disagree with your assessments or declare a willingness to achieve certain goals.

Once the form is complete, you should both sign it and retain a copy for your records. A word on salaries: Annual reviews do not mean an automatic increase in pay; however, if the employee is doing a good job, a raise is customary in most industries.

Ongoing Communication

Regular reviews will let employees know how well they are performing and give them benchmarks for improvement. In between formal evaluations, open communication will do wonders for morale. Don’t wait for a review to praise a job well done. A compliment here and there doesn’t cost you a dime and goes a long way to increase staff’s job satisfaction and motivation.

If you’re unhappy with performance in any area, let staff know immediately. It’s customary to “write up” an employee for a violation of company policy or substandard work; however, most companies will issue a set number of warnings before putting a write-up in an employee’s file. It’s important to follow a strict policy, so personnel know what to expect. Furthermore, it would be highly irresponsible to deny an employee a promotion or raise—or worse yet, terminate him—because of an issue that was never even addressed.

Regular reviews are a good way to let team members know where they stand and keep the company on track. The process can be challenging. Some supervisors are uncomfortable with the task of critiquing performance. Regardless, see it through. If you evaluate employees fairly and maintain open communication, you and your staff will enjoy greater job satisfaction, and the facility will reap the rewards of greater productivity.

Pamela Alton-Truitt is the owner of Mini-Management, a nationwide manager-placement service. Mini-Management also offers full-service and “operations only” facility management, training manuals, inspections and audits, feasibility studies, consulting and training seminars. For more information, call 800.646.4648.

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