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exhibitor Q & A


My new role as an exhibit manager requires that I complete staff-performance reviews. How should I evaluate my employees?


Staff-performance reviews can be so tough, that they should have their own episode of "Dirty Jobs." But they don't have to be that way. Here are a few tips to make the review process run a little smoother.

First, make sure your employees don't feel ambushed when they sit down for an evaluation: Topics discussed in performance reviews should never come as a surprise to them. Next, an effective appraisal will assess only the goals you directed employees to work toward. When you review their success in achieving those targets, use only criteria that are measurable. That way, you can more accurately assess staffers' suitability for raises, promotions, or perks. Thus, the standards by which you'll measure staffers' efforts should be spelled out clearly, be quantifiable, and be available in written form to them from the start of their employment.

Once you begin the review, set a positive tone by acknowledging the employee's contributions. Then, pause frequently to ask the staffer's opinion about the information you're relaying. For example, ask if the points you relate seem accurate and fair. If there are areas for improvement, solicit the staffer's ideas on how to achieve and measure progress. By taking this approach, you'll help ensure that a review is a productive, instead of punitive, process.

Dan Lumpkin is an organizational psychologist and president of management-consulting company Lumpkin & Associates in Fairhope, AL. E-mail your career-related questions to askdan@exhibitormagazine.com
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