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When was your last employee review? Now, I'm not talking about some pat on the back for a job well done, or a passive aggressive comment from your boss at the water cooler, I'm talking about a sit down, face-to-face, knock-down, drag-out, employee review. I doubt it was anytime soon.

In my brief (but eventful) tour through the working World, I have found that construction and engineering folk would rather slice off their fingertips with a diamond-blade grinder than give an employee review. I even had a six month review written into the offer letters with one of my employers and when six months was up they kept saying that they'll get to it next week until they finally told someone else in the office to tell me, "I didn't have to worry about getting fired". Incidentally, I was fired five months later but they told me I was getting laid off. That was so nice of them.

I personally love employee reviews. I like sitting around having discussion about improvement - it's so much damn better than sticking your face in an Excel spreadsheet or counting square feet of drywall. I think of it as more of a discussion about how the operation is going and what improvement can be made to the situation.

So why are bosses so deathly afraid of giving employee reviews? Well, I don't know. Perhaps they are afraid of what is going to come out in the review, if they'll be painted into a corner about something they said during the year which will make them look bad in front of their boss. Seriously, this is the crazy stuff that runs through people's minds. Regardless, employee reviews are also a rare opportunity for employees to look their bosses in the eyes, ask some real questions and come up with a plan about where things will be heading.

It may also be because they simply don't know what to say. I've seen far too often the modus operandi for companies is to hire someone, give them little direction and no feedback and then fire them when they decide they don't like them. This is by far the laziest style of management possible. It's really not that hard to list ten to fifteen bullet point responsibilities of a particular job. Then, at the annual employee review, go over the bullet points and talk about what is going well and what needs improvement. It's also good to try to make the positives outweigh the negatives. Some people think there should be three positives to every negative, but in construction, when young employees are treated like chimpanzees who just escaped from the zoo, a fifty-fifty split will suffice.

Employers and employees both benefit from reviews, it's a win-win and people avoid them like a room full of airborne asbestos. Reviews also act as good opportunity to document performance in case of a necessary dismissal, and also keeps someone from firing an employee just because they don't like them (at least it can help). So let's be men, and women about this and give your employees reviews. If you have a job then ask your boss for a review.

It's a win-win.
 
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