Performance Reviews

Is an annual review the best way to get to know the people you have hired or to judge their performance?


Many managers feel uncomfortable doing performance reviews and some employees dread them. Often they don’t achieve what we set out to do - that is to provide an objective review of a person’s performance over a 6 or 12 month period.

Instead of an uncomfortable formal meeting face to face across a desk, is it sufficient to just meet informally and frequently throughout the year?

Is it enough to trust people will be motivated and enthusiastic to deliver on your expectations without some kind of review?

During the last two or three years there has been an inclination by many companies across a range of industries to relax formality. Instead, opting to provide an environment where a manager really gets to understand the performance of staff or those reporting to him or her through regular conversations.

A workplace environment where employees will know throughout the year what’s expected of them and how they are progressing in meeting the goals and expectations set ……. that’s if they have been set.

And here lies the problem, especially in many medium sized garden centres, where managers feel there are too many employees to have regular daily conversations with everyone but they are too small to justify a dedicated human resource person in the team

There’s always an option to contract the services of a human resource specialist who will develop protocols and processes for you to monitor employee development that tells the company how any individual in the team is doing against their KPI’s. Dedicated garden retail consultants Garden Retail Success offer a People Management manual to help retailers get the best from the team of people they employ.

However this isn’t a substitute for judging how well your employees interact with each other; how well they interact with customers or how reliable and competent they are to perform the tasks they have been hired to do on their day at work

It is important there are simple processes in place that enable regular contact between managers and their teams. You are not going to build a friendly confident team if you don’t convey your expectations and vision for the business 

  • short early morning meetings before the doors open with the duty team for the day
  • regular staff meetings with the full time employees
  • social get-togethers from time to time with everybody – full timers; part timers and admin people
    work alongside staff occasionally to help out – this gives you a good feel for competency levels and work rates
  • have fun competitions that everyone can be involved with
  • keep yourself visible and approachable to your team of people – an open door policy

People can’t perform efficiently or constantly with 'customer first' principles in mind if they don’t have the resources to do their work:

  • appropriate, comfortable,  branded clothing and name tags
  • simple workstations
  • current technology and software to allow “paperwork” to be completed efficiently
  • efficient communication systems whether verbal, electronic or written
  • training at all levels – skills, knowledge, customer service and sales, health & safety, merchandising, - operating procedures and systems; team and individual motivation and acceptance of responsibility
  • information everybody needs to know and where it is seen or kept
  • planning sessions for in-store promotions and activities

Tips for performance reviews

Every employee should have an employment contract and a job description. These are not one in the same ….. they are separate documents.

Career development and goal setting should be part of the first conversation about performance so that the employee knows exactly what is expected of them

How the employee will be evaluated also needs to be part of the first performance conversation.

An employee should never hear about anything that needs improvement for the first time in formal discussions. Effective managers discuss positive contributions and anything that needs improvement daily or weekly as they are noticed and with encouragement.

Never sit down for a performance review conversation with an employee without preparation. If you wing it, both sides will be dis-satisfied. You will miss key opportunities for feedback and improvement. Your employee won’t feel encouraged by their successes and will feel unsupported if you omit to offer or provide the assistance in areas where they feel they need to lift their game or improve a skill set.