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Mastering Local Government Employee Performance Reviews 2023

By GovPilot

Public officials that make the greatest impact on their communities are the ones that genuinely care about their jobs and how to improve the lives of those around them. Oftentimes, these types of government employees are the ones who want insight into how they can improve at their roles and grow within your local government. It is important that these standout employees should be given thoughtful performance reviews that make them feel appreciated, and highlight how they can continue to best improve their skills. 

Local government leadership must provide insightful and detailed performance reviews for their employees to retain standouts and encourage these talented people to grow into critical leadership roles within your community. 

Read on to learn more about why government employee reviews are important to the success of your locality and retention of employees, and how to effectively leave a performance review as a local leader with subordinates. 

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What Are Government Performance Reviews? 

Just like performance reviews in any sector, government performance reviews are assessments from leadership of how well their employees are meeting the requirements of their duties, whether they are meeting goals and expectations, and if their skill set still aligns best with their current position. For underperforming employees, the review is an opportunity to steer them on the right path. As for your standouts, the employee review is an opportunity to help them hone in on their craft even further and maximize their potential. 

These performance reviews are a way for government leaders to:

  • Connect and spend intentional time with their employees to praise their strengths 
  • Help employees find continued success in their role
  • Empower employees to grow within your local government
  • Educate employees on how to recognize which responsibilities are most important and have the largest impact on the community 

Both employers and employees benefit from honest and clear performance reviews, because they provide an opportunity for communication and help both parties to get on the same page about the work that is being done. 

Why are Local Government Employee Performance Reviews Important?

Government employee reviews offer countless benefits, from being a bonding experience for bosses and their employees to improving workflows in any government department and beyond. From a high level, here are the reasons that government leadership will want to take employee performance reviews seriously:

  • Help employees improve on their current performance

In a government employee performance review, the employee is able to learn what expectations are placed on them and of the highest priority, as well as how to exceed goals and expectations. Great employees want to perform to the best of their ability and appreciate direct and thoughtful communication around the work their employer would like to see them produce. Improving the community starts with ensuring the public officials are working to the best of their ability, and performance reviews are the best way to encourage that. 

  • Let employees know that their hard work is being recognized

It is very important for employees to feel seen and appreciated by those they work for if you want them inspired to perform their best. Taking the time to consider all of their hard work and thoughtfully express ways they could find even more success will help employees to feel excitement and gratitude about growing in their position.

  • Increase employee retention 

When employees feel appreciated, they are more likely to feel motivated to dedicate the time and effort it takes to continue to grow within their current position. When employees feel heard and guided at work, they are more likely to enjoy their job and government employee retention will be higher at a time when local governments are seeing the lowest retention rates in decades.

  • Increase employee engagement

When a leader puts the care into a thoughtful and impactful performance review, oftentimes employees feel an increased sense of connection to their performance. Employee engagement and effort will likely peak when they believe that their superiors are invested in seeing them succeed. 

How to Give the Best Government Employee Reviews Possible 

Basing conversations with your employees off of these tips will ensure that the performance reviews you conduct are as accessible and successful as possible. 

1. Focus on Objectivity and Honesty

Remember the objective of the performance review: to have an honest discussion about whether an employee is achieving the duties and expectations of their current role. Giving honest feedback to the employee will be beneficial to their future performance and will positively impact the community. 

2. Prepare With Data and Examples

It is beneficial to the employee to review tangible data that shows them the effect that their role has. Standout employees will be able to see how much their work makes a difference and likely feel inspired to keep up the good work. All employees can find room to grow when analyzing data or reviewing examples of their work.  

Pro Tip: With government software like GovPilot, tangible data is collected at real time in meaningful dashboards. Local leaders can use these dashboards to show government employees specific metrics about how they’re performing in an intuitive way. 

3. Create The Appropriate Environment

The ideal environment for a performance review is one where both parties feel comfortable and not-rushed. Carve out a timeslot in the day specifically dedicated to the performance review, showing that it is a priority. A calm and friendly tone alongside a comfortable space will raise the chances of productive conversation. 

4. Engage in a Two-Way Conversation

While it is important that the employer leads the conversation and informs the employee of their progress and current standing within their role, it is equally important to understand the employee’s perspective. Make sure the conversation allows for the employee to open up and be honest about roadblocks they have faced, struggles they overcame, ideas they have for improving the community, personal goals, etc. in order to better evaluate them in the future. 

5. Focus on Active Listening

Use the performance review as an opportunity for yourself to better understand how the employee operates within their role and what they believe could make them (and the department) more successful. Listening to employee’s needs will provide you with the ability to address their concerns and improve department-wide workflows. 

6. Ask The Right Performance Review Questions

Taking the time to consider and ask great questions will grant you insight into the way they view their role, their own motivations, and the day to day happenings within your department. Here are some commonly asked questions: 

  • What are your goals for the next six months?
  • How do you believe you have performed within the past few months and what could be improved upon? 

Asking questions that guide the employee to give definitive answers will encourage the employee to open up about their experience within the role will also provide you with insight about your performance as well: 

  • How could my management style be improved?  
  • What workflows could be better in our department?
  • What should our department be prioritizing? 
  • What tools do you require for success? 

1. Focus on Impacting Team Success

While each performance review is individual, stress just how important the employee’s role is to the bigger picture. Validating the employee that they are making a difference is often inspiring and motivating. All of the employees will work with more dedication if they know everyone is being pushed to contribute as a team, and grow as a whole. 

2. Emphasize Developmental Needs

Allowing the employee to reflect on areas of the job they want to improve upon or skills they would like to develop further will guide you in providing the appropriate resources to help the employee thrive. Use the performance review as a chance to learn what resources or help someone may need in order to develop into a more well-rounded employee. 

3. Reflect On The Past, Focus On The Future

This conversation should carry a tone of reflection, paired with optimism about the employee’s future in their role. Of course it is vital to review their past work, but it is equally important to set new expectations and goals for their future. Planning for the future six-months at a time can set a window opportunity that is realistic to show improvement, but not too far away. 

For more government employee management, retention, and hiring tips, read on:

Utilize Government Software to Track Workplace Data 

Government software is able to aid in the tracking and organizing of data for your workplace. Saving data and examples of employee performance through this software can ensure accountability in the public sector workplace and provide tangible evidence of employee’s performance. This data is invaluable because it can be used as a tool to not only track employee and department-wide progress, but as a tool to explain clearly, exactly how employees can grow towards success in their positions. 

Prioritize Conducting Successful Local Government Employee Performance Reviews

It is paramount that government officials retain employees and help them grow by offering insightful performance reviews alongside tangible government data. Dedicated government officials deserve thoughtful feedback on their performance that can be offered through caring explanation and the analysis of their performance through government data. 

To learn more about how GovPilot can make for a better employment experience in your local government, book a free demo. 

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Gov Employee Reviews - FAQs

Why do government performance reviews matter?

Government performance reviews create the space for an employer to teach the employee specific ways to improve upon their work, and show that management is invested in the employee’s growth. Thoughtful performance reviews prove that the employer appreciates the effort of the employee and cares about guiding their team in correcting mistakes and performing better in the future of their role. 

How do performance reviews help government officials grow?

Performance reviews help the officials to identify their personal areas of success, and areas where they need to grow and improve. A clear explanation goes a long way in teaching and refocusing employees, which will help government officials to identify what truly matters: making a genuine positive impact on their community. 

How does putting time into performance reviews help government leaders?

When government leaders put time into performance reviews, they are able to redirect employees to focus on areas of the job that are most important, and provide a detailed and clean explanation of how to improve performance. The open and candid environment of a performance review creates opportunity for employees and employers to discuss needs of both parties that will maximize success. 

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Tags: Constituent Engagement, Government Efficiency, Digital Transformation, Blog