Performance reviews that work for everyone

Annual performance reviews are a vital tool in helping you not only address areas an employee needs to improve, but to also offer praise for a job well done. It’s also an ideal opportunity for employees and household staff to raise concerns or ask questions. Reviews are the best tool you have to turn around under-performing employees or address the concerns of star employees so they want to stay with you.


In one recent example, a competent personal assistant suspected her employer was planning to replace her. She had been frequently sidetracked by the employer's wife, who asked her to perform extra tasks that weren’t part of her official duties. During her review, the employer asked if there were any problems getting in the way of performing her job. The assistant finally told him she felt overwhelmed yet obligated by the additional household duties that hadn’t been outlined in her job description. As it turns out, the employer was unaware of the extra tasks and decided his wife’s needs could be handled by another staff member. Because her concerns were addressed, the grateful assistant approached her job with renewed enthusiasm, motivation and discipline.


Knowing performance reviews can benefit both employer and employee doesn’t always make them easier to get through. To make the process less painful and more effective, here are a few suggestions for conducting a successful review. Before you sit down with an employee to discuss his or her performance, consider the following topics and outline your own thoughts on each:


  • What is working well and what is not
  • Actions and behaviors you want to see start or stop
  • Employee schedule and punctuality
  • Adherence to house rules
  • Additional house rules that should be added or clarified
  • Completion of primary duties
  • Professionalism and personality
  • Standard of work
  • Areas for improvement
  • Responsibilities and duties being overlooked, and/or those you would like to add
  • Responsibilities that can be discontinued

During the review, asking these questions allows your employee to voice any concerns or issues he or she may have:


  • Has the job met expectations?
  • Has everything been as promised?
  • Has the role matched the job description?
  • Have there been any significant surprises?
  • Do you have any concerns about the scope or depth of the role?
  • Has your pay been what you expected?

In addition, you can ask if the employee has any unanswered questions about his or her role; the role of other employees they interact with; administrative matters such as their pay, taxes or benefits; and how the job should be performed.


Following the review, be sure to document and follow through on any decisions or changes that were made. If you and your employee agreed upon any action items, create a list of the items, outline who is responsible for taking action and note the expected timeframe for completion.


Last updated: Friday, April 28, 2017

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