Why And How to do an Employee Review


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Employee reviews are one of the most neglected tools retailers can use to increase their sales. By using regular employee reviews, you can always cut the lower 20% of associates to hire better associates and grow the culture of your business.

That means you never stop hiring, sorry to say.

But are employee reviews really that important? Aren't they just a way of saying, You're about to be fired?

The Hawthorne Effect

There was a famous experiment at a Western Electric plant in Cicero, IL, during the '20s. Through a set of experiments, researchers wanted to find out the best illumination for worker productivity.

They first checked the productivity of the regular factory to establish a baseline. Next, they told the crew they would increase some of the lights; worker productivity increased.

They added more lights, and productivity went up again. In the final stage, the researchers forgot to turn on the extra lights, yet increased worker productivity.

These experiments led to what is now called “The Hawthorne Effect,” which means that people change their performance in response to increased attention paid to them.

It is important to stay engaged with your employees, monitor their progress, and find as many ways as possible for your best shine.

A necessary element is to conduct an employee review. I use one that is just 14 questions on two pages.

How to do the evaluation

  • Complete your review the day or night prior.
  • Tell the associate this review is just part of managing your business.
  • Don't do it on a bench in a mall where both of you could easily be distracted. Go over your review privately or somewhere away from others' ears, like a coffeehouse or restaurant.
  • I usually ask the associate each question and ask how they'd score themselves - then concur or tell them why.
  • You must cite specific behaviors they do that support your rating. Don't just say, "You always have to be told what to do," but add one recent example.

You want this to be seen as much a review of your management skills as their employee skills, so even if you don't feel comfortable the first time, it gets easier as you see what you could do better for your employees.

You should complete one 30 days after you’ve hired a new employee, 90 days after that, and then once every six months. You can just set up a reminder in Outlook or your smartphone calendar. Conducting employee reviews at these intervals is essential for guiding new employees toward success. These reviews provide a structured opportunity to offer constructive feedback, set clear expectations, and identify areas for growth and development.

Additionally, they foster open communication, helping new hires feel supported and valued, which is crucial for their confidence and integration into the team. This consistent feedback loop not only aids in their professional development but also aligns their efforts with the overall goals of your retail business.

Your employee reviews ensure you notice what makes an employee a great employee. It allows you to give feedback on your concerns, hear theirs, and sometimes reward them with a raise or deliver a reprimand.

In Sum

Think of an employee review as just a chance to get together around a set of questions. You don’t want to set up the expectation that they will get a raise each time or there’s something bad about to happen – a review is just part of your process to better your retail sales.


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