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Learn2 Provide Effective Employee Reviews (continued)
Step 1: Have a clear philosophy

Don't think of the review as a report card, but rather as a blueprint for action. By focusing on future goals rather than past mistakes, you can keep the review process both positive and constructive.

Unfortunately, many companies conduct reviews out of mere habit--a great way to end up with both frustrated managers and disgruntled employees. Before beginning the review process, your company should have crystal-clear goals. Here are some good reasons to conduct reviews:

Reward merit. Many companies use the review process to allocate yearly raises. Since managers are giving serious thought to employees' overall contributions to the company, it's a great time to assess the level of financial rewards they deserve.

Document problems. While it's important to keep reviews as positive an experience as possible, it's also a good chance to document ongoing under-performance, which can be especially important to businesses lacking a formal human resources department. Many employers who take loyalty for granted could be in for a big surprise if a terminated employee files an expensive lawsuit.

Set goals and motivate employees. Everyone likes to be praised, and employees will often work more productively if they know they're going to receive a formal evaluation. It's also a great time to set goals for the coming year.

Improve communication. By making the review process a collaborative experience, you can actually bring managers and employees closer together. If this is your goal, make sure the process allows for some give-and-take and emphasizes communication as much as evaluation.

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Step 1: Have a clear philosophy
Step 2: Prepare the groundwork
Step 3: Design the review process
Step 4: Obey the law
Step 5: Keep reviews positive
Step 6: Meet one-on-one