Wednesday, March 21 , 2018, 4:36 pm | Light Rain 58º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with The Lab and American Riviera Bank
The LabAmerican Riviera Bank

Don’t Take Good Performance for Granted

Regular reviews and raises make for happy employees and a more successful work environment.

Good help is hard to find, especially these days when employees expect more out of their jobs than ever before. As a small business owner, you want to create a work environment in which employees feel respected, valued and motivated to do their best work. Treating everyone fairly is not always enough. You must be attuned to what your employees are thinking, and make sure they have the proper incentives to both excel and correct deficiencies.

Let’s begin with performance reviews and merit raises. Once you hire employees, it is your responsibility to train and motivate them, routinely review their performance and offer merit increases as appropriate. Reward excellent performance, so you can retain trained and qualified employees. It is generally less costly to keep a good employee, than to regularly hire, train and hire again if good employees leave because of low compensation.

Often, a personal regard and camaraderie develops between the small business owner and his or her employees. Such personal relationships can result in subjective decisions, when it comes to promotions and pay raises. To safeguard your decision, maintain clear guidelines for employee performance. Measure employees against standards that are fair, objective and clearly understood by employees. A performance review provides a forum for you to review an employee’s performance and share your observations with the employee. The employee should be able to share his or her perspective and feedback as well.

Be sure you have clear job descriptions in place. More often than not, performance problems can be traced back to unclear expectations or expectations. A written job description provides a clear description of the skills and abilities required to effectively complete the job you need done at your company. The description should be written for the position and work to be performed, not to accommodate someone who may currently be filling the position. The more objective the standards, the more effective you can be in matching performance and skill to the job, rather than focusing on personality and people you may like to a greater or lesser degree.


Santa Barbara SCORE meets every Wednesday, from 8:30-11:30 a.m., at 402 E. Gutierrez St., Santa Barbara. No appointment is necessary. For more information, call 805.563.0084, visit SCORE online or click here to register for counseling.

In addition, the Santa Barbara SCORE Chapter publishes a great tool for aspiring entrepreneurs, How to Start a Business in Santa Barbara County.

A merit rating system, with grades or levels for positions within the company, can help you establish a reasonable pay scale for each job. Merit ratings determine what salary within a salary range an employee should be paid. Your industry’s trade association will often have a listing of average and median salaries for positions within companies like yours. This will help you avoid setting salary ranges too high or too low for a given position.

A part of your merit system may be specific percentage raises for specific performance levels. An employee who performs his or her duties at the level of “excellent” would receive a larger increase than someone who performs “good” or “average.” Factors beyond fulfillment of job duties are often considered as part of merit and performance reviews. Dependability, initiative and teamwork are common areas for employee evaluation.

Click here to plug into a wealth of business know-how from the Santa Barbara chapter of the Service Corps of Retired Executives. SCORE counselors offer free, confidential advice about every aspect of starting, running and growing a successful business, even mentoring.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >