Employee Performance Review? Take Notes

Employee Performance Review? Take Notes

Tracking farm employee performance in real time

Is your annual performance review really an "annual" review or just a "past month" review?

After all, who can remember an employee's ups and downs for over 2,500 hours this past year? Our memories aren't so great as time passes.

Often, when it comes time for us to talk about performance, it's human nature to just reflect on recent happenings. Sure, we have our gut feel about each employee and may have a few examples, but that's just not enough. How can we capture a full picture so we can hold a meaningful discussion at year end? 

Taking short notes along the way will help you have an effective performance review later.

There is nothing worse than sitting down with an employee knowing you are frustrated with their performance and struggling to come up with concrete examples. Or the opposite, knowing they are a great asset to the team and not sure where to start.

We need to take subjectivity out of the performance review as much as possible. We need data, examples, and specifics to support the conversation.

I recommend getting something in place that helps you take quick notes in the moment; both the good and the ugly.  Notes should track if they were late, if they stepped up their game, if they trained a new person, if they didn't follow instructions and everything in between. Taking short notes along the way will help you have an effective performance review later.

There are many ways to get this accomplished. It comes down to finding a process that fits how you function. You could create a separate email account and simply email the note with the employee's name in the subject line. The email will be date stamped so a quick note might take you less than 30 seconds and will be easy to pull up all the notes for year end. You could create a document on OneNote. I would even support carrying a small notepad with you versus not taking any notes at all.

The great part of doing this exercise is that it forces us to recognize behaviors. If something is important enough to capture and read later, it's probably important enough to give a quick verbal feedback to the employee in real time too.  A quick thank you for their efforts or a review of how to do something different next time is better than waiting for review time.

The opinions of Lori Culler are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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