Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

by : 
Kim Perkins
July 1, 2014

Question: Last month you answered a question about how to handle a performance review when the employee is not meeting job expectations. Before I had my store, I didn’t work any place where I received a performance review from an employer. Now that I have employees, I think I should do this, but I’m not really sure how. Can you recommend a book or give me some pointers?

Answer: Performance reviews are very important. I commend you for wanting to learn more. One of my favorite books on this subject is Inspire and Motivate Through Performance Reviews (ISBN 9781558522770).

We all get incredibly busy running a store, and without a formal plan to review employee performance every 90 days or at least annually, it can easily slip through the cracks. But, you have your own business, so you can set the tone and timing of the review. They don’t have to be scary or intimidating.

At my store, we structure reviews so both the employee and supervisor fill out a performance rating sheet and exchange their ratings at the beginning of the review. This gives a good starting point for conversation, and employees quickly can see whether they rated themselves above or below their supervisor’s rating. Once that information has been exchanged and discussed, the review is an excellent time to listen to any complaints or suggestions from the employee. We learn a lot this way, and some great suggestions come forth.

Kim Perkins is co-owner of Elysian Fields Books & Gifts for Conscious Living (, an award-winning store in Sarasota, Fla. Send your retail questions to