No-one particularly likes performance reviews – neither managers or employees. But reviews offer the chance to encourage good performance while redirecting the efforts of those who are performing poorly.
Most employees consider performance reviews as one of the most stressful events of the year. Setting early expectations can do a lot to alleviate this.
Start well before the review itself, by defining clearly how you’ll be evaluating employees. This can take the form of performance planning sessions to discuss goals and expectations for the year ahead.
Knowing exactly what’s expected of them makes it far easier for employees to deliver, while listening to their ambitions will help inform how you view their work.
In the weeks prior to the review, ask your employees to note any work they’re particularly proud of, while taking time to record any well-executed work they were involved in.
It’s also a good idea to speak to others in the company who work closely with the employee.
It can also be useful to give the employee a copy of their evaluation before the meeting. Not only will this give them time to process it, it will make for more productive discussion in the meeting itself.
The key here is to pick a side and be clear. Most people work hard and consistently, so for the majority you’ll want to focus entirely on the thing they’ve done well. This approach also works to motivate those who are already doing well.
For poor performers, however, it doesn’t help to sugar coat things.
You do someone no favours by avoiding problems in their work – rather confront the problem head on in order to facilitate improvement.
Now is the time to find out how things are going for your employee, and offer some advice where needed. Generally, you’ll get honest concerns here, giving you an opportunity to address these.
Advice you give should be specific and action based – what specific things they can do to improve. The stop, start and continue approach is useful here: What’s not working? What are they doing that is working well? What can they start doing to be better?