Inside: Employee performance reviews improve engagement and productivity — if you do them right.
Employee reviews may seem like a lot of paperwork, but they are worth the hassle. Your pharmacy will thrive if your employees are thriving. To set them up for success, a performance review is a must.
How often you conduct performance reviews depends on your pharmacy’s culture. If you already give a lot of feedback during the day-to-day, you may only need to conduct formal reviews once a year. But if you don’t have as much regular contact with individual employees, a semi-annual or quarterly review schedule could yield better results.
Here’s why employee performance reviews are critical for the success of your independent pharmacy (and a few tips for helping them run smoothly).
Regular performance reviews can help you and your employees get on the same page. As things in your pharmacy evolve, your staff member’s duties may evolve from the job they were initially hired for.
When you hold a review, you ensure that what you expect from staff members is the same that staff members expect from themselves. It also helps you identify discrepancies in expectations and adjust course if necessary.
Reviews demonstrate that you are invested in your employees’ success. Giving positive feedback shows them that they are highly valued in the pharmacy. Even negative feedback can help keep employees engaged because it means you want to help them improve rather than cut them loose.
When you set goals in your reviews, it energizes your staff members to stay engaged with their position and work to become high achievers. And as a positive side effect, when employees are engaged with their work, turnover drops.
Improve work environment
When one employee struggles, it can affect your whole team. Employees might become resentful that they have to pick up the slack for one of their coworkers, or mistakes made by one person can create more work for someone else.
Holding regular performance reviews can nip these issues in the bud and help your whole pharmacy team run like a well-oiled machine. When employees know they can trust their colleagues to complete their work as assigned, they are better able to concentrate on their own tasks.
Reviews can also help you pick out trends within your pharmacy staff. As you check in with employees, you may see that there’s common confusion about a particular pharmacy process and that the whole team could benefit from an extra training session.
You may also see new opportunities based on your conversations. If your pharmacy techs universally say they enjoy direct contact with patients, that could be a sign that expanding clinical services would be a smash hit. Listening to your staff members’ goals and concerns will help you make more informed decisions about the direction of your independent pharmacy.
6 tips for better performance reviews
Delivering feedback doesn’t have to be awkward. These six tips can help you get your message across for a more effective performance review.
1. Create a comfortable environment
Set the tone for the review by ensuring employees can relax in the environment.
The location should have a door you can close and if the room has windows into other parts of the pharmacy, you should pull the blinds shut. Other employees should not be able to look into or overhear the review.
If you don’t have a place like that in the pharmacy, consider moving the meeting off site, like to a local lunch spot. Even if you have a private office, there may be distractions that pull your attention away from the review, so going off site may be a smart idea regardless.
2. Send the evaluation in advance
For a more productive conversation, send your employees a copy of their evaluation in advance.
When you let staff members review the evaluation before you meet, you give them time to collect their thoughts and ensure they don’t feel blindsided by unexpected feedback.
At your review, walk through the evaluation together and give your reasoning, and ask them if they have any questions or confusion about the evaluation. They may push back on certain items or offer a different perspective. That’s not a bad thing — instead, it gives you a more complete picture of what kind of support the employee might need.
3. Don’t wait to address issues
If you’re addressing a major performance issue for the very first time at a review, you’ve probably waited too long. Don’t put off critical feedback until review season, because there’s a chance things could go downhill in the interim.
Waiting until review time to provide critical feedback can also blindside employees, because they may have been doing things a certain way for months with no idea it was being held against them.
Intervene early and address issues as they arise. Then, use the performance review to touch base about ongoing issues and see how things are improving.
4. Give examples
Be prepared to offer specific examples while you give feedback.
Instead of vague feedback like, “You need to work on your customer service skills,” offer a concrete example like, “In the past month, there have been multiple instances where you didn’t greet patients when they entered the pharmacy, and they had to ask you for help when you should have offered first.”
Remember to also give concrete examples of the positive performance as well, so employees don’t think their hard work is going unnoticed.
5. Focus on improvement
Don’t shy away from talking about performance issues, but the majority of your review should be spent discussing how to make improvements.
Once you’ve named the issues, focus on creating SMART goals with employees to help them develop their skills and improve on weak spots. Collaborate with staff members to create a path forward that you both feel confident in, and establish a check-in schedule to measure progress.
Depending on the employee and their individual needs, this may be a good time to develop a coaching relationship.
6. Make it a conversation
You should listen as much as you speak during a performance review. Treating the review as a conversation instead of a one-way street can help you get insight into what is holding them back and what could help them excel.
The employee may not be comfortable expressing their opinion right off the bat, so be sure to ask lots of questions as you go through the evaluation and don’t rush them to an answer.
At the end of the evaluation, leave time for the employee to ask questions of you, and answer them as frankly as you can.
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PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy-side of their business. Founded and owned by pharmacists, PBA Health serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, wholesaler contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, and more.
An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited secondary wholesaler with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products — offering the lowest prices in the secondary market.