Staff Performance Reviews

How many practices actually do personnel evaluations? In our experience, not that many. What we commonly see is that staff automatically get an annual raise in pay without any performance review at all. Perhaps the difficulty lies in the fact that most practitioners do not know how to do one.

Definition, Please!

When you look at the word “performance”, what does it mean? It is the way an employee or the practice itself functions, usually in comparison to objectives or a set standard. Further, it is the degree of skill with which something is executed, either by an individual or a practice. According to the dictionary, “review” means an inspection or a viewing of the past; contemplation or consideration of past events, circumstances or facts.

An employee performance review is basically a one-on-one meeting conducted by the employer with an employee just before their first 90 day employment period elapses and from then on, at least annually. In this review, the employee should gain a clearer understanding of their role and responsibilities in helping the practice achieve its objectives.

Positive Experience

The review can be a very positive experience for the employee, the team, the practice and for you as the employer. It is a chance for you to discuss ideas, concerns, attitudes and responsibilities in a safe setting. If done well, it can inspire employees to aim for higher levels of productivity for themselves and the practice.

It’s interesting to note that many staff would like some sort of feedback in order to find out what their boss thinks of their performance. Most good staff want to know that they’re doing a good job or if they have some weak points and what they are so they can improve them.

Let’s assume that you have good staff and work from that perspective, because if you don’t, why do you still have them?  So the performance review can be a positive process for both the employer and the employee.

Do’s and Don’ts

The following are some of the do’s and the don’ts with respect to performance reviews.

In order to do these reviews you must make notes or at least mental notes throughout the year.

The problem with performance reviews is that they are often based on the last 2-3 months of the employee’s performance, depending on how good the employer’s memory is. So if you are not making notes, positive and negative, the performance review may not be as effective as it could be.

Start off the review by asking the employee to describe in full detail all functions of their position. Do they fully comprehend what they are supposed to be doing? This can lead to an open, two-way communication that clarifies the full scope of the position. When you are satisfied that the employee has a good grasp of this, go to the next step.

At this point, express to the employee as many positives as you can about their job performance throughout the year: what are they doing well, what are their best accomplishments from your view as the employer; pass on any compliments from patients or other staff, etc.

Next, ask the employee if there is any aspect of their job that they do not feel comfortable doing or feel a lack of training for. Hear all that they have to say on this point before working out with them how to improve themselves in those areas.

Once that has been accomplished, if you have any negatives that have not been addressed or dealt with, bring them out now. Then work towards mutual agreements regarding how these points can be improved. Keep the process as completely objective as possible.

Do not solicit reports or critiques from other staff on any employee as part of a performance review. This is destructive and causes rifts in the team spirit.

Wrap-Up and Follow-Up

After the meeting, be sure to take some time to write up and document the points discussed and solutions worked out. Part of the process is to establish time frames when any necessary improvement or training or correction is to be accomplished by. These times frames should be noted in the report as well as in your diary for subsequent follow-up.

A copy of the report of this meeting must be given to the employee and a copy kept in the employee’s personnel file in your possession.

Effective performance reviews will result in a more productive, fulfilled staff with the ultimate outcome of a peak-performing practice as all staff will be focused on continuous improvement and develop into an outstanding team.

Need help on doing staff performance reviews? AMI can help.   Read what our client’s feedback on our program.


“We did lose a couple of staff who did not like the fact that they were now accountable for their results, but with the help of an amazingly accurate pre-hiring test provided by The Art Of Management, we replaced them with wonderful, hardworking and responsible team members.”  – Dr. Francois Lechner


Call us at 416-466-6217 for a FREE Practice Assessment!

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to The Art of Management Inc. and a clickable link back to this page.


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