Building a successful loss prevention career in has always been predicated on the commitment to professional growth and development. But true growth must be built on a solid foundation. Especially when we consider the pace of change, we find that success is largely based on the refinement of the fundamental principles that anchor our skills and our decision making.
Writing effective performance reviews is a critical cog in the entire career development process. We use these appraisals to assess and document an employee’s performance, behaviors and skills while reviewing the milestones that were achieved and/or the opportunities that were missed over the past review period. We observe, review and recall the various metrics, measure those factors against the performance standards established by our organization, and translate our evaluation into sufficient detail to provide the employee with fair and meaningful feedback.
While the review process is a critical aspect of improving employee productivity, development and morale, the task of writing performance reviews is often viewed as a challenging and time consuming chore. However, we must be able to consider the review process on multiple levels, and from a global perspective. A well written, well conceived review is not merely an appraisal of the employee’s past and current performance, but also a means to enhance future performance and provide feedback that can be the foundation of an employee’s overall loss prevention career plan.
In Part 2 of the Performance Review process, we will discuss writing the appraisal.
Writing the Performance Appraisal
After discussing how to go about preparing for the performance appraisal, we’re ready to begin the writing process. The actual appraisal can vary significantly from company to company based on format, approach, style, specific metrics, content and evaluation scale. Most will evaluate specific duties and responsibilities based on a job description, service and professional development, working relationships and communication skills among other factors. Once we are familiar with the specific review and the review process itself, we should organize our thoughts within the review format:
We should review the employee’s accomplishments, while ensuring that the nature of the employee’s job and job responsibilities has not changed since the last performance review. Any changes that may have occurred should be reviewed with the employee at the time of the change and duly recognized and documented within the review format.
We will assess employee performance based on known company objectives and primary job responsibilities. This assessment should include key activities, events, successes and achievements for the review period as compared to the employee’s performance within the established metrics/measures. How have they done?
We will review the employee’s performance against established core competencies. Where have they performed the best? Where do they need to show improvement?
We review the employee’s developmental plan, and evaluate their progress towards reaching their defined developmental goals. What progress have they made? Is there a difference in their skill or competence? Do we need to modify the plan? If so, how?
We then complete the Performance Review document. As the document is completed and our evaluations are detailed, we should consider:
- Are the descriptions clear and to the point? Has the meaning been plainly communicated? Is the message understood?
- Is the evaluation honest, factual, fair, accurate and complete? Have we been objective?
- Is the evaluation consistent with the message and the feedback that has been provided throughout the course of the year?
- Have we recognized solid and/or strong performance? Have we honestly and accurately identified deficiencies?
- Have we cited examples and provided supporting information that corroborates our assessment?
- Are developmental plans coupled with the employee’s most important developmental strengths and needs?
- Is there a core message, and has it been clearly communicated? Have we been constructive? Does the message provoke thought and encourage performance?
The Performance review is likely the most concrete measure of an employee’s contribution to the department and to the company. It should be compiled carefully and composed thoughtfully in order to send the desired message while improving, enhancing and acknowledging employee execution and accomplishment.
While writing a proper and accurate review is essential, the way the review is delivered is often what they remember. In Part 3 of the Review Process we will discuss Delivering the Appraisal.
By capitalizing on opportunities to enhance our knowledge and education, we are making an investment in our own future. To learn more about loss prevention career development and the certification process, visit losspreventionfoundation.org.
To read the LP101 article on Approaching the Performance Assessment, click here.