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Productivity / Performance

Writing performance reviews: Details will save the day

When it comes time to writing performance evaluations, it’s best to stay away from broad generalizations about the employee’s work. Instead, provide concrete examples that support your stated performance rankings. Follow these guidelines for writing evaluations.

Track poor behavior even after improvement


Some employees will permanently per­­form and behave better if they believe their jobs are at stake. But for others, the improvement is only temporary. That’s why it is important to track performance and behavior over time.

Suggesting ways to improve isn’t discrimination

Some employees are hypersensitive to any criticism, even if it is constructive. That won’t turn a weak discrimination lawsuit into a winner. For example, if the employee receives a largely positive performance review that lists some areas in need of improvement, chances are the court will toss the case fast.

Past reviews don’t prove today’s performance

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has concluded that just because an employee who has been demoted received good reviews in the past doesn’t mean that she is still meeting her employer’s legitimate expectations.

Fired employee reinstated? That doesn’t excuse more misbehavior or poor performance

Take heart if you have ever de­­cided to reinstate an employee or re­­scind discipline because the employee threatened litigation. Doing so won’t wipe clean his disciplinary record or imply that you admitted he’s living up to your expectations.

Complaint + sudden criticism = retaliation


Juries like simple cases. If an em­­ployee complains about discrimination and management does nothing, that’s one thing. But if suddenly the employee is criticized, placed on a performance improvement plan and then fired, jurors may see retaliation.

Supervising Introverts: 5 Tips for Managers

Introverts may be less noisy, but they actually outnumber extroverts in the workplace. But in today’s extroverted business world, introverts can sometimes feel overlooked, excluded and misunderstood. Jennifer Kahnweiler, author of the groundbreaking book, The Introverted Leader, suggests managers follow these five tips for supervising their introverted employees …

The case for managers: Hierarchy boosts productivity

While it’s trendy for companies to tear down the corporate walls and declare all employees equal, new research in the journal Psychological Science says teams with built-in hierarchy are more productive than teams in which all people hold an equal amount of power.

Make sure rigorous performance expectations don’t drive employees to work off the clock

You may be tempting fate—and a Fair Labor Standards Act class-action lawsuit—if you demand so much productivity from employees that they can’t reasonably get everything done within the time you allow. The problem: Employees may feel compelled to work off the clock.

Can volunteerism be part of job review criteria?

Q. Our evaluation process includes commitment to the community. We give all employees “points” for volunteering. The points become part of their numerical rating and could affect their rating (satisfactory or unsatisfactory) and raise potential. We don’t pay for volunteering time. Are we violating the law?