HR Management, Pay for Performance

Performance Management and the Employee Review Process

by Katie Busch, founder of HR Compensation Consultants, LLC

When performance management is mentioned, people often think of the employee performance appraisal or review, however, performance management involves so much more. Properly constructed appraisals should represent a summary of an ongoing, year-round dialogue. Focusing only on an annual appraisal form leads to misunderstanding and a lack of appreciation for the benefits of performance management.

Performance Review

If you are not already doing it, NOW is the time to begin an informal process of receiving input from and giving feedback to your employees.  Because you are their manager you are responsible for their progress and resetting them if they get off course.  Setting up a regular mechanism to get and give feedback will help your employees excel at their jobs.

The best way to ensure that your employees are on course is by checking in regularly in an informal way.  With that said, here are some ways to do that:

  • Have a quick ‘status form’ sent to you every Friday from each employee which covers these major items: (imagine how much more well-informed you will be)

3 things you accomplished this week

3 things you want to accomplish next week

One thing I can do to help you:

Upcoming meetings, projects or time off:


  • Schedule a one-on-one call or meeting for 30 minutes every other week (that’s about 12 hours a year for each employee – don’t they deserve that?).
  • Conduct a 1 hour weekly or monthly staff meeting to cover major topics
    • Have an agenda and meeting notes sent to the group afterwards.
    • Allot 2-½ hours per meeting to prep, conduct the meeting, and follow-up, which equates to 130 hours annually for a weekly meeting or call and only 30 hours for a monthly one – not really a lot of time to spend on helping your employees meet their objectives, is it?

If you put these kinds of mechanisms in place now, think of how well prepared you will be to do a formal review midyear and at end-of-year. When you sit down and talk with your employees, document it all in a formal way. When preparing for the formal reviews there are three things to keep in mind:

  • Get an employee self-evaluation first.
  • Keep the review simple.
  • Stick to the facts – remember, you already have the facts documented.

Having your employees do a self-evaluation first helps you to know how well they think they are meeting objectives and it may bring to light some situations you may have forgotten or may not be aware of.

You want the review to be simple and straightforward: plan to give each employee 30 minutes of your undivided attention and let them know what to expect when you set the appointment.

When conducting the formal performance reviews, remember to always stick to the facts. Give specific examples in your review, whether they are good or bad, and only give the facts on those examples.

And finally, ensure that you document everything.  Documentation is important to support performance decisions and notes should be written with the intent to share. Clear documentation of progress against performance expectations also allows proper recognition for a job well done.

The road to effective performance management is not always easy, but progressing towards a long-term vision by making manageable and incremental changes will bring about significant results. You can start today by implementing some simple feedback tools (weekly status updates, one-on-one calls, staff meetings, etc.).

Now that you have the review process down, it’s time to establish a compensation philosophy to compensate your employees based on their performance. Join Busch, as she presents, “Establishing Compensation Philosophy and Strategy: The Building Blocks of Compensation Compliance,” on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. For more information, click here.

Katie Busch is the founder of HR Compensation Consultants, LLC and offers over 15 years of progressive compensation experience having worked in various industries, including high-tech, loyalty marketing, pharmaceuticals, retail, manufacturing and logistics solutions. She started her career in governmental consulting work. Her recent experience also includes implementing classification and pay plans for countries in Latin America and Europe.

Katie earned her bachelor’s degree in International Business from Florida Atlantic University and holds these certifications:

  • Global Remuneration Professional (GRP) from WorldatWork
  • SHRM-SCP from the Society of Human Resources Management

Katie has been a board member for the South Florida Compensation and Benefits Association (SFCB) since 2007 and served as their President in 2011 and 2012.  She is also an adjunct professor at Florida Atlantic University, teaching an executive education class in Compensation and Benefits.  Katie appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of HR Magazine published by SHRM.