Talent Retention (II): How is Your Performance Review Process?

One of the most powerful progenitors of talent retention is your retail organization’s protocols surrounding the “performance review process.” This will determine if your employees/leaders feel inspired, connected, engaged, and loyal to your organization. I wanted to share some basic review etiquette techniques to establish a baseline for your methodology.

The performance review process can run the gamut between an experience with superior professionalism immersed in authentic, credible, and poignant action plans for future growth or an interaction fraught with immaturity, massive egotism, and unsubstantiated biases, and control issues that will stymie the individual.

The primary purpose of the performance review process is to establish a two-way dialogue with the individual regarding the different organizational competencies and all aspects of an employee’s performance/growth. This can include customer service, engagement, teamwork, reliability, mentoring, planograms, and increasing revenue.

Each retailer will have a specific set of key performance indicators (KPIs). Retailers utilize numerous performance review appraisal forms to establish accountability and calculate performance standards with many different achievement protocols.

How to Deliver a Performance Appraisal

Each retailer has its protocols for how often they require performance appraisals. The most prevalent throughout the retail industry are monthly, 90-day, six months, annual, or combinations of these four methods.

Every performance appraisal should encompass all four behaviors (consistency, honesty, unbiased assessments, and professionalism) to guarantee that the individual will receive a fair evaluation of their performance.

Let’s break down each behavior in greater detail to disseminate further the importance of establishing these four critical anchors of integrity.

Related Article: Talent Retention: How is Your Onboarding Process?

Maintain Consistency with Each Performance Appraisal

Consistency is the first anchor that must be followed to create the optimal environment for delivering a successful performance review. This should consist of creating a benchmark for a positive employee experience. It will include an adequate allotment of time for the review, zero interruptions during the process, having already scheduled the review with the employee in advance, sticking to the structured appraisal document, creating an atmosphere of two-way communication, and a fair employee action plan for continued growth.

Many leaders “deviate from the script” or attempt to “wing it” to save time or cater to their inflated egos.

Providing Honest Feedback for Employee Growth

Honesty is the second anchor that must be adhered to establish a credible review process with your employees.

Many retail leaders abhor giving unpleasant feedback to their employees due to their inexperienced conflict resolution skills, lack of confidence in their review assessment, and desire to be liked.

I completely understand how challenging it is to present an individual with constructive feedback because of the backlash they could experience. At the same time, a disingenuous review assessment will usually inhibit the individual’s professional growth and their desired career trajectory within the company.

Delivering Unbiased Performance Assessments

Biased behaviors are the third anchor, which can be positive or negative. This is dependent on the situation, individual, or atmosphere within a retail setting. Human nature dictates that all humans are biased on their likes/dislikes, childhood experiences, environmental factors, and social groups.

Rather than operating as objective observers, people/leaders are prone to perceptual errors that lead to biased interpretations of their environment. Some male leaders have biased perceptions that female workers are inferior to male workers because their societal framework conditioned them through (social networks, exposure to female suppression, male chauvinism mentality, especially in specific retail environments, or familial beliefs) to perceive them this way.

Professionalism with Delivering Performance Reviews

Professionalism is the fourth anchor with ensuring each associate receives an accurate performance appraisal. This anchor is the most ubiquitous leadership failure of many retail leaders I have witnessed throughout my tenure.

Unprofessionalism must be expurgated from any manager’s behavior when delivering an employee’s performance review. Professionalism should be the foundation upon which any leader’s character and integrity are constructed and accepted when they decide to climb the management ranks.

Many leaders feel enthusiastic when accepting their new position as a leader within the store while cheerfully accepting all the “perks that come with the title.” On the other hand, some leaders reluctantly acquiesce when faced with their true responsibilities as a leader, e.g., professionalism, integrity, conflict resolution, demeanor, consistency, and honesty.