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Employer Guide to Employee Performance Reviews

What is a performance review?

Conducting employee performance reviews is a pivotal aspect of effective talent management. These reviews provide an opportunity to recognize achievements, address areas for improvement, and set goals for future success. In this guide, we'll explore key steps and strategies to ensure your performance reviews are constructive, motivational, and contribute to both individual and organizational growth.

Think back to when you were an employee: was your stomach in knots around the holidays, or a work anniversary? You probably had to undergo performance reviews. These reviews, conducted by your manager, incorporated quantitative and qualitative data and writing to tell you how you were performing at a job: your strengths, weaknesses, achievements, and contributions to your organization. The reviews could have also included rating your skills on a scale of 1-10, and answers to discussion questions about your performance.  If budget and personnel allowed, this would be the time you’d get a raise or a promotion. Performance reviews are typically conducted every six months or every year, and they don’t have to be stressful for employers or employees. In fact, performance reviews can be a celebration of what employees are doing well, and an opportunity to reflect and set goals for the next year that align with the company’s goals.

Types of Performance Reviews

There are multiple types of performance reviews that you can choose, based on your organization’s goals, culture, and needs.

  • Annual Performance Review. Every year, typically at the end of the fiscal year but can occur around an employee’s work anniversary, this is a comprehensive assessment of the employee’s performance including their strengths, weaknesses, and goals to set for next year. These types of reviews can also occur semi-annually (twice a year),  quarterly, or when large projects wrap up. But how would you know when to conduct these reviews? Consider the goals you’re setting for employees, and if they’re expected to be completed by the end of a quarter, six months, on a project-by-project basis, or a year.
  • 360-Degree Feedback Review. A manager might know an employee’s performance best, but they may not work with them or have visibility into every project. In this style of performance review, feedback is collected from an employee’s managers, peers, and subordinates. So if you’re evaluating a trainer at your pet care business, this might include feedback from the other trainers on their relationship, in addition to their direct supervisor.
  • Self-Assessment Review. Just as it might be useful to have other opinions than just a manager’s in a 360-degree feedback review, an employee knows more about why they were able to accomplish certain tasks well but might fall short in completing others. For example, a manager might negatively remark that an employee consistently leaves early, but the employee might not have disclosed that they have to catch a bus home, or have to pick up a child from school. In this style of review, employees receive a survey about their performance and evaluate themselves, discussing this with their manager.
  • Managerial Review. This type of review is often given when a manager is just starting out and on a probationary period, when the manager is up for a raise or promotion, or if the manager’s supervisor has heard negative feedback from the manager’s subordinates. Employees get a chance to speak up about their manager, with no fear of retaliation, and then this feedback can be passed onto the manager. This helps to create open communication between employees, which can help boost employee retention.
  • Probationary Review. Some employees are hired under a probationary period: meaning that if they maintain great job performance for the first 30, 60, or 90 days, their benefits such as health care kick in. A review of this performance can let employees know they now qualify for such benefits.
  • Continuous Performance Management. This is a more casual way of evaluating performance. Supervisors have one one-on-one sessions with employees, which can occur weekly, biweekly, monthly, or on another cadence. These meetings usually do not result in large changes like raises, but are a way for supervisors to connect with employees and give feedback. Then when larger performance reviews come up, the employee isn’t surprised by any potential feedback.  

How to measure employee performance?

Highlight how softwares can be useful in tracking / measuring employee performance

Highlight any relevant ways PetExec can track employee performance and/or any relevant PetExec software integrations

Measuring employee performance can be difficult without a digital system: you probably have many employees who are working on multiple tasks throughout the day. To simplify this and measure employee performance in an organized way, you should look into a pet business software like PetExec to help. With PetExec’s Time Clock module, you can add employee tasks and make notes. From there, you or the employee’s supervisor can write down what the employee is supposed to be doing, and then take notes on how well they’re performing their duties. From there, you can measure their work product by noting their adherence to the following factors.

  • Work Execution. The pet care business can come with unexpected hurdles, and adaptability is key. How well are employees able to delegate tasks, prioritize important ones, and manage their time to make sure everything gets done at the end of the day? How quickly can they adjust to new problems, and how ready are they to shift priorities if something comes up?
  • Work Quality. This is what you’d typically think of when it comes to a performance review: how well are your employees doing at their assigned tasks? Does your groomers’ work get dog tails wagging? Do their walks have owners and pets jumping for joy?
  • Punctuality. Do your employees, for the most part, and barring extenuating circumstances, arrive to work on time, don’t take excessive breaks, and leave on time as well?
  • Attitude. Pet care businesses involve a lot of customer service: even the four-legged friends you’re serving are customers. Are your employees positive and helpful to pet parents? Are they treating pets with love and care? And, are they positive and collaborative with peers and supervisors at work?
  • Personal Habits. We’re all glued to our devices these days, but are your employees on their phones instead of checking in pups? Are they using work computers not for work, but to go on social media? If applicable, are they wearing appropriate work attire?
  • Creativity. If an employee is confident at work, they can come up with more creative solutions to problems. They can also take on new skills, also known as upskilling, which helps develop their career, regardless of where they work.
  • Sales Revenue, If Applicable. This is for employees who work in the retail section of your pet business, or are selling packages of services. How successful are they at upselling more expensive grooming methods to pet parents? Are they meeting sales goals as set by their department supervisors?
  • Customer and Peer Feedback. If you don’t work very directly with your junior staff members, you’ll want to hear from their coworkers and your customers to assess if they’re friendly, personable, and kind. If they get along with their coworkers, employees are more likely to be retained, saving you time and money on training someone new.

How to conduct a performance review?

The first thing you need to do to conduct an effective performance review is to of course, schedule it. You’ll have to take an hour or so of time on a day that an employee is working. If your groomers and trainers work part time, that amount of scheduling can be a headache. Luckily, PetExec has a combined calendar feature that puts employee time clocks and all scheduled events like groomings and training appointments all in one place. Before scheduling the reviews, let employees know what to expect, like what they will be graded on, and possible outcomes of said reviews. And even if you’re delivering negative feedback, approach your employees and their situation with empathy. When giving performance reviews, plainly describe how the employee is performing, with specific examples, like “I really like how positive you are when you greet dogs and their owners. It sets a great tone for their visit with us.” When delivering negative feedback, be sure to explain how their behavior affected you or the rest of the company, like “You left work and there were still dog toys all over the floor. I had to stay behind and miss my train just to make sure everything was in order the next day.” You should also offer employees an opportunity to respond: maybe their negative performance was affected by their family, relationships, or home situation. Finally, you’ll discuss next steps: what will they continue to do well, and what will they work on for next performance reviews? And if applicable, award the employee with promotions or raises.

Importance of Employee Evaluation

Just like dogs, employees love positive reinforcement: an employee evaluation can encourage employees and motivate them to do their best every day. Evaluations gives them expectations on what their higher ups want from them, they help employees set new goals, and they can reveal what training they need to do their jobs well. On the other hand, they give you the ability to take a step back and realize what isn’t working, and to assign employees to different roles if their current ones aren’t working out for them.

Commonly Asked Questions

How to attract and retain talent? (link here)

Employee retention is important because it helps you save money (training just ONE employee can cost over $1000) and time on training a new person. To attract talent in the first place, you want to have attractive pay rates and benefits. It’s great to do some competitive research and see what the other pet businesses are offering in terms of pay, healthcare, vision, dental, and other insurance, and flexibility of work (remote versus in person, different work hours each week, etc) and try to offer the same or better benefits as other comparable businesses. After they’re hired, you want to make sure they’re trained effectively, with opportunities for professional development, and have a chance to communicate with you openly via one-on-one meetings. This will help make sure employees are getting to do what they enjoy at work. You can also implement anonymous surveys that help you understand what’s going right and wrong about your workplace. Addressing this feedback head on will help employees feel like their voices are being heard. You can also create a sense of job security by scheduling out employees for months at a time, as less secure employees will be less engaged.  

How to manage employees effectively (link here)

If you want to manage employees effectively, you might consider pet business software like PetExec. PetExec offers support for employee recruiting and onboarding, employee appointment and training scheduling, performance evaluation, policy notification, payroll management, and scheduling time off. Employee management software will help reduce your workload by automating administrative tasks, reduce errors that would come from maintaining payroll manually, ensure compliance with local and nationwide laws, and allow you to easily communicate with your team. With PetExec you can manage and track employee schedules, manage their personal records, track performance, and allow employees to update personal details like banking and payment information in a portal. With all the time you’ll free up, you can focus more on great customer service, and nurturing your employees’ growth, giving them more attention and resources that will motivate them to try their hardest.  


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