Dealing with the same employee mistakes over and over is frustrating, but if an employee makes the same mistakes regularly, he or she needs your help to improve. Unfortunately, approaching employees about consistent mistakes can be tricky – they may become defensive or discouraged, or bogged down with the requirements of a performance improvement plan. A performance review may reveal how to transform the employee’s overall productivity.

1. The Performance Review is Like Counseling

In many ways, management followed by a performance review is very similar to what individuals go through when they go to therapy. They spend time giving a counselor their baseline information and then the counselor uses the information to guide an individual to some healthier solutions.

In the same way, a manager or supervisor takes the time to record employee performance information, including hard and soft skills, while getting to know the employee better on a personal level. When the performance review comes around, a manager should have all the requisite knowledge needed to identify strengths and weaknesses in an employee profile and the ability to offer personalized recommendations an employee can use to enhance performance.

2. Performance Reviews Help Management Identify Patterns

A performance review is the culmination of performance behaviors and activities over a specified time. If management keeps detailed logs for employee behaviors, they can take the information, plug it into a review template, and have measurable data at their fingertips. They can use the data to identify patterns in individual behaviors as well as patterns over a team or department.

There may be reasons why some individuals have a hard time with tasks or completing problems around certain times. Company executives love to see factual analysis on earnings and return on investment driving activities. Performance review information is another area that offers meaningful, actionable data that teams can use to influence larger company goals.

In addition to identifying places where teams and individuals struggle, the performance review process also highlights what employees do well during a given time. These areas deserve recognition and maybe even a closer look. A manager can use the patterns to identify factors that may improve employee performance during certain times and capitalize on those factors in the future. Instead of viewing performance reviews as necessary routines, think of them as a way to enhance team dynamics and improve productivity over the long term.

3. Performance Reviews can Strengthen the Bond between a Manager and Employee

Each manager or supervisor wears many hats. They must serve as a knowledge repository, as a friend, as an enforcer, and as a mentor. Great managers truly understand the power of positive leadership. A performance review gives employees and managers an opportunity to get on the same page. They may have been operating under misconceptions about each other that hinder productivity. Or, they may not have been as transparent about goals and performance in the informal workplace setting.

A performance review gives both parties the opportunity to clear the air, recognize strengths and weaknesses, and agree on actionable plans for the future. These one-on-one sessions can significantly strengthen the mutual respect and professional relationship between management and any employee, regardless of performance. A better relationship with management often leads to increased productivity. Feeling a sense of loyalty and respect for management and the company can serve as a motivating factor.

4. Performance Reviews Allow Management to Offer Constructive Feedback in a Formal Setting

When a manager provides feedback in an everyday work environment, it often is difficult to understand how effective the feedback was. A performance review provides a formalized outlet that lets employees know the discussion is important for the future of their jobs. This is the time when management can address how well an employee takes feedback in the everyday setting, recognize improvements over the time period, and offer constructive feedback for weaknesses in performance while offering actionable solutions.

For some employees, receiving feedback in a formal environment resonates more deeply than informal conversations during the workday. The performance review provides a specific structure and allows management to use examples and data from a performance review template to support advice and gain a deeper understanding for employee behavior. Instead of using the process as something to rush through, have the performance review in a nonthreatening location, and use the time to truly strengthen employee behaviors.

5. Performance Reviews Allow Management to Rethink Training and Guidance Practices

Companies that approach the performance review as a reflection of employees and of management can more effectively enact change and drive productivity. Many companies simply look at the budget to determine if added training is the appropriate measure to take for a team, which can lead to trouble in the long run. A company’s human capital is the most powerful asset it has. It is the driving factor for growth and long-term competitive viability. Investing in teams often makes sense, if companies can see the value in its people.

If certain people routinely perform poorly, it could mean management has failed to train or guide them in a meaningful way. Everyone responds differently to management approaches and teaching styles. A performance review can help companies see what works and what doesn’t from a performance perspective.

The information in performance reviews may indicate a company needs to teach employees in a more informal setting or that taking a hard-nosed approach to performance in the field isn’t working so well. As with every other business practice, the key to improvement is recognizing weakness and optimizing results with every additional time period.

The Performance Review Data is the Key to Productivity

Without measurable data, the performance review cannot effectively improve productivity in any of these ways. It becomes an unhelpful routine that does not improve performance or help a company reach strategic goals. Starting with the right performance review template and a strong commitment to logging employee performance can make all the difference in how effectively a company can tap into performance to drive success. The Effective Performance Reviews eBook can help you learn more.