Managing staff performance with reviews and raises


No matter if you are a good manager of your staff or not, at some point you will (or should) have to review their performance and consider raises


Keith Borglum, CHBC“Having employees is like having diabetes. There is no cure, only management.” It’s one of my favorite human resources sayings because of its stark and simple truth. No matter if you are a good manager of your staff or not, at some point you will (or should) have to review their performance and consider raises.

Here are some things to keep in mind when reviewing your employees’ performances and determining when raises are appropriate.

Set goals for managers, staff

Setting clearly defined goals is critically important to achieving success. In fat, most managers want to create teams that outperform expectations. But to achieve it, as a leader of the practice, you have to offer the vision. A basic truism about goals is that they should be “challenging yet attainable, clear and unambiguous, written and measurable.”

The first step, therefore, is to write down your own goals-as they pertain to staff-in compliance with the above guidelines.

Once your own goals about staffing are established, draft a set of goals for your staff. These can include tangible targets such as, “Be at your workstation, ready to work, at the beginning of your work period” or intangible goals like, “No staff is to ever say an unkind word to patients-or each other-in the workplace.”

Once you have your draft of goals assembled, have a staff meeting to review and approve your personal management goals, and the goals for staff performance. This allows staff to have the opportunity to question and clarify the issues.

This group process invariably results in a higher quality set of goals, pleases staff to have the opportunity to contribute, and strengthens peer pressure on performance within the team.

Managing goal compliance

Once goals are established, staff achievement and compliance needs to be managed. 

New staff members or new goals should be individually reviewed until they are achieved. Have a written schedule for yourself to do so that it remains prioritized; otherwise it’s easy to rationalize doing tasks other than reprimanding staff. A sample schedule might be weekly for a month, monthly for a quarter, then quarterly thereafter.

Having a written structure for the review is helpful. Organize a checklist of the goals with some form of grading. Staff should be familiar with the checklist on which they will be reviewed, in order to aid them in compliance and preparation.

Rewarding performance

Rewards for performance don’t have to be monetary. Simple praise may be enough much of the time.

When you praise staff, do it “publicly” in front of other staff and patients. When you need to correct or reprimand them, do it privately.

Raises should still occur when appropriate. Once an employee is compensated at market rate, experts favor raises for good performance rather than for time-in-grade. Don’t give a raise to an employee whose performance is worsening. Save it for employees that improve skills, certifications, or licensure. 



Answers to readers’ questions were provided by Keith Borglum, Professional Management and Marketing, Santa Rosa, California. Send your practice management questions to

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