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Submitted by Peter.westley on


I need some suggestions for what approach we might use to implement performance reviews for a small company that has not put in place benchmarks or standards for performance.

Yes, it should never be done BUT:

The company I work for (about 20 employees) has just had a CEO change and the new incumbent has decreed that we will have reviews in January even though there are no baselines or goals set to review against. He does note that it's hard to have reviews when employees don't know what they are being measured against.

The reviews will also include setting performance goals for the following year. The goals bit I can do. The approach to doing a review with no measurement standard is the tricky bit.

Any suggestions?
Thanks, Peter

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tlhausmann's picture
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I recommend starting with updated position descriptions. I know that when starting a new position under such circumstances I could spend a great deal of time getting history. Yet, when I review position descriptions, even when out of date, I gain perspective on where each person could grow or develop. Dovetailing my O3 notes with position descriptions and knowing where the company is headed then I can build performance reviews with appropriate objectives.

If you do not have updated position descriptions for everyone on your team then I recommend everyone be required to update their position ASAP. Have each direct submit their updated position description before the review.

mmann's picture
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First off, Tom's advice to leverage the O3 notes is wise.

If you think about it, only a portion of a review is based on goals, especially if we limit ourselves to the 2-3 BHAGs M&M talk about.

That said... way back in the day when I worked for a Big8 firm, I recall getting reviews that weren't based on goals.  The reviews were based entirely on expectations that were never stated up front, but were simply understood.  Looking over one of my old reviews I see the possible ratings were:

  • Significantly Exceeding Expectations
  • Exceeding Expectations
  • Meeting Expectations
  • Meeting Some Expectations
  • Not Meeting Expectations

The behavior categories used are:

  • Productivity
  • Quality of Work
  • Job Knowledge/Technical
  • Professionalism
  • Time Management
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Judgment
  • Initiative
  • Management/Supervision
  • Teamwork
  • Adaptability
  • Creativity

Perhaps you can glean a little something from this.


Peter.westley's picture
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Tom and Michael,

Thanks for the pointers. Sometimes we just need a nudge to get started on something (at least  do!)

The company is small and I have no DRs and certainly there are no O3s done anywhere in the company let alone coaching for feedback :-( I have my dreams...

I am in a position to influence the strategy taken with these reviews and I'm trying to be proactive in providing some sort of solution before it's needed.

I should have thought of the Meets/Doesn't meet expectations measurements because I was once with a large company that used a very similar metric.

And certainly the job spec reviews has got to be a starting point.

Thanks again (and everyone else keep the suggestions coming if you have any!)

-- Peter

DISC: 2564

Peter.westley's picture
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Let the good times begin!

As I hit the enter key on that previous post (quite literally) I was summoned into the CEO's office with my manager and advised that I, along with 5 others had been retrenched. :-)

Nothing quite like getting an early start to the Christmas holidays. Thanks to M-T though I'm well prepared, have my contacts accessible and will start reaching out very shortly.

The move is not a surprise for me (again thanks to periodically maintaining an eye on company progress and business levels.) and, having been retrenched before I'm pretty well prepared for it.

-- Peter

DISC: 2564

wendii's picture
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We're sorry to hear you've be retrenched. Let us know what we can do to help.