EMS Tips Operations

Employee Review Tips

With 2009 officially in the books, patient care reports clearing the billing process, and start of year tasks completed this might be the time that employee reviews are being conducted. In my experience employees are reviewed either at the end of the calendar year or on their service anniversary. I just had my employee review and have been thinking about my experiences as a supervisor and employee over the years.

When preparing for and conducting employee reviews these are Everyday EMS tips and techniques I have found useful:

1. Make notes throughout the year about employees that you can use as specific examples of the good and the bad during the actual review.

2. Ask co-workers of the employee, other managers, and subordinates for feedback. One supervisor I had would send an email each month of the employees up for review and request feedback from co-workers. EMS professionals rarely work with direct observation from their supervisor. The manager needs feedback about our performance that might be more descriptive or nuanced that what can be expressed in patient care report or billing form.

If you get this request I suggest always responding. It is gratifying for your co-workers to hear kind things from their colleagues. It may also be an important opportunity for your supervisor to identify a problem early.

3. Reviews are not meant for big surprises. If I have failed I need to know it soon and with immediate corrective actions. Don’t wait until January to discuss a performance issue that began in July. Feedback needs to be timely and relevant for it to be feedback.

4. Focus on specifics and planning for growth. Most of us have enough self-awareness to generally know what is coming in a review. Use the time together for planning accomplishments for the year ahead in 2010. Look forward instead of backward during a review. Maybe even change the title to “Preview.”

5. Make it about one person. The person sitting in front of you during the review. Discuss how they performed relative to expectations not to their co-workers. This is time for the employee; not the performance of other people that may or may not have any impact on the employee.

6. Maybe it is time to say goodbye. I have been in the midst of preparing reviews for several employees when I have realized it is time to part ways with the employee. There is never a good time to send someone packing. But in every case that I found myself asking “should we terminate this person?” the answer was always “yes and we probably should have a long time ago.” Although I am a fan (and several time recipient of second chances) tigers don’t change their stripes. The review might be the best time to look ahead and realize the employee is no longer on the same path as your organization. Once that decision is made I am a big fan of making it happen as soon as possible while honoring what ever termination work rules might exist.

What are your thoughts on conducting reviews?

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.