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Conducting reviews for your staff is not as hard as you think. The benefits are so worthwhile. Here's my story about job reviews. You need them. It’s that simple. It took me a few years, to learn this lesson. I finally figured out why my young staff needed job reviews. If you think a casual compliments, or one zinger corrective statement will work, think again. Read on, about formal, written job reviews. 

Write reviews for your staff. Benefits are big.

Write reviews for your staff. Benefits are big.


For me, when I first opened my cafe, staff were good at their job. Our opening team made sure of it. Little by little I’d realize they needed clear expectations around each role. It was essential. I'm sure you can relate, that as a manager and owner, I didn’t have a lot of time to laud staff with compliments. I did it anyway.  Our business days were not child play. They were busy and full:  7am to 4pm close. We'd have long, detailed prep list, catering with tight delivery windows, staff breaks (people need to eat!), front line staff task-list. Oh, and be charming to our guests. Everyone had structure and tasks to complete. “Just initial what you did, so I know it’s getting done” was a daily comment. Once complete, I heaped on approval.   And, yes, I had all the same stuff you have: staff showing up late (excused or unexcused), complaining (lots of things to fuss about as a young adult) or feeling ill (oh, Monday, Monday!).  Their action required my attention--verbal correction to written disciplinary action.  Why was I caught in needing to hand out approval or disapproval.  The phrase, “just do your job” rang loud and clear in my head, and my GM’s voice. But this was their first or second job in their entire job history.  They literally did not know how to conduct themselves, or they had the best of intentions and poor delivery.  They were just starting on the road of adulthood. My GM, Luke, and I finally talked this out.  If you looked at their world, they received approval or disapproval from two main areas of their life:  Nurturing (or not) from parents and critical approval (or not) through school teachers with their grades.  That was all they knew.   So here’s the funny thing, most of us didn’t get the memo:   when you enter the work world, that constant flow of nurturing and grades ends.  It's not the norm. Adulthood starts, and suddenly no one is handing out compliments.   

good ambiance


Your team needs your approval, and disapproval.  But not in a comment. It needs to be formalized. Perhaps you conduct your business like this: new staff receive the one to two week training.  After a training period,  you think “there, they’ve got it!”  At my restaurant, the training was our subliminal way of saying, “Okay, you've been trained, you’re good, right?” “We don’t need to shadow you anymore”.” Glad you are on the team.” Staff need paced and formal approval of the business owners. How do they keep moving in sync with you otherwise? An offhanded comment does not replace a review. When i finally realized staff need a formal job review, things began to shift in my business. Adding a grading system to the review made each review brilliantly clear.


A formal review is useful because:

  • The review ensures that you capture what needs to be said to each staff member

  • You know they understand a grading system. It ensures team members quickly get the message: a 7.5 out of 10 means “there is work to be done”.

  • It require that you are sitting with each one of your team. You value them enough to explain the good, bad and ugly.

  • You engage your team. We invited team member to read all comments before the review started. They could digest all our words before the review began.

  • Includes action steps. Talk those out during the review. You two digest the details together, in a more meaningful way.

  • Invites them to respond. They are allowed to ask questions. Treat your staff with respect. They will respond in kind.

  • Allows you, the owner/manager time to notice unique characteristics in every (new) employee.


It’s my hope and desire that these words seep into your working owner brain.  They can help you focus on your business…and avoid getting bogged down in your business.