5 Tips for Giving an Effective Performance Review

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5 Tips for Giving an Effective Performance Review

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The annual performance review is beginning to give way to more frequent check-ins and progress assessments, but many companies still utilize performance reviews out of habit and even necessity. Do you look forward to performance reviews or do you dread them? They are often stressful for both management and employees, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Performance reviews should be a simple, logical and satisfying process. It’s time for employers and employees to change their perspective in order to get the most out of these reviews.

Here are five tips to help managers conduct effective and painless reviews that deliver results:

1. Conduct separate reviews for professional development and for pay raises.

Rather than designating just one annual opportunity to meet with your employees to discuss performance and compensation, consider having a mid-year review to focus solely on performance and professional development. This will help alleviate the stress and pressure on both you and your employee.

Use the mid-year review to bring up any problems to solve and identify areas for growth. By leaving results out of the discussion and saving them for an end of the year compensation conversation, the review becomes more of a dialogue about what an employee can do to improve and what an employer can do to help.

2. Be honest.

This piece of advice might seem obvious, but it’s important for employers not to make the mistake of altering feedback to avoid a confrontation. By being honest and to the point, employers have the opportunity to work with employees and help them improve. In some cases, an employee may not realize they are going about something at work in the wrong way unless it is brought to their attention. Be sure to keep the conversation open-ended and allow employees to respond. Remember to focus on the issue and not the person.

3. Avoid reading from a form.

The worst way an employer can execute a performance review would be by running through a list and giving a score. It’s important to view these meetings as an opportunity for growth, and not as a mandatory item to check off the list. Consider bringing a blank performance review form to the meeting and fill it out as the conversation develops. This allows you and the employee to have an open discussion about what’s working and what needs improvement. The employee will intuitively feel like they are a part of the problem-solving process.

4. Let the employee do the reviewing.

One way to have transparent and effective performance reviews is by turning the tables and letting the employee lead the discussion. Try giving your employee a few questions to answer beforehand and ask him/her to bring the responses to the review. Some potential questions are ‘How do you feel about your work product?’ ‘What can I do as your supervisor to help you grow?’ or ‘What are your long- and short-term goals?’ Letting your employees assess their own work is a good way to engage and motivate them.

5. Come to the meeting prepared.

To have an effective review, it’s crucial for you to bring to the meeting specific examples of good and bad behavior. This is something that needs to be done and kept track of throughout the year, not just recent examples. Also, it’s a good idea to gather feedback from peers to ensure the performance review remains objective.

After the performance review meeting, make sure to follow up by summarizing the discussion and include goals that were agreed upon during the meeting so your employee can begin improvements immediately.

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