In this blog, find out how you can prepare and conduct a performance review, with these tips on improving the performance review process over time.
Performance reviews are a vital part of performance management, as they allow each employee to receive feedback be it praise for outstanding contributions to the company, suggestions for areas for improvement, and development objectives for the year ahead. A well-conducted performance review can help motivate employees to thrive in their careers and help employers get better quality work from their team. An employee evaluation is also an opportunity of course correction, lay the workflow for a team’s advancement within the company, and create helpful documentation for HR. So how to conduct a performance review for your company?
When to Hold Performance Reviews
The time of year you select to hold performance reviews is also important. Busy periods should be avoided as you need to be able to give each employee the attention they deserve. It is worth noting that reviewing employee performance should be an ongoing process.
Aim to discuss each employee’s development with them when issues arise, rather than putting it off until a formal review. This keeps the lines of communication open, as it helps to ensure that nothing new in a formal performance review will come as a complete surprise.
How to Conduct Performance Review
1. Document on performance throughout the year.
When notable things happen regarding an employee’s performance, you’ll want to take specific notes. Taking notes or documenting it, will help you accomplish several things.
It will make it clear that you’re paying attention throughout the year, not just during the months and weeks prior up to the review. This helps prevent a culture of employees who are used to working hard during the period just before reviews.
Finally, it will give you a chance to improve your overall performance evaluation process. Additionally, if you take the time to note something, it probably means it’s important enough to give the employee a little feedback so that they can improve, and you’re both on the same page come review time.
2. Prepare all feedback ahead of time
Don’t go into an evaluation meeting empty-handed, and don’t plan to fill out the employee evaluation form during your meeting with the employee or right after.
Rather, take time to compile your thoughts and feedback in advance and use your evaluation document as a framework for the meeting. By having all comments formulated and ready beforehand, you can ensure the meetings stay on track and you don’t miss any critical points.
3. Keep your remarks clear and concise
If you’re not direct and clear in delivering an employee evaluation, you risk employees leaving the meeting with confusion around goals and misconceptions about the expectations.
The best way to guarantee transparency is to use specifics and be detailed whenever possible. For example, if you have given an employee a low score for time management, share examples of missed deadlines, or times when other teammates had to pick up their slack.
4. Sharing Performance Review Format
Make sure that you also share the performance review format with the employee, it is important so that he or she is not surprised at the end of the performance review period.
A significant component of this evaluation discussion is to share with the employee how your company will assess their performance. An employee needs to understand that if he/she only does what is expected of them then they will not be considered as a performing employee.
In some organizations that rank employees, this is the equivalent of a three on a five-point scale. An employee must do more than just perform in their work to be considered an outstanding employee.
5. Preparing for a Discussion
Prepare for the discussion with the employee. Never go into a performance review without preparation. If you don’t prepare for it, the performance review will fail. You will miss key opportunities for feedback and improvement for the organization, and the employee will not feel encouraged about his successes.
The documentation that you maintained during the performance review period(mentioned in the 1st point) will serve you well as you prepare for an employee’s performance review.
When you meet with the employee, try to spend time on the positive aspects of his or her performance. Usually, the discussion of the positive components of the employee’s performance should take up more time than that of the negative components.
6. End with a focus on the future
Discussing negatives, like recent failures or areas where employees have scored poorly, are uncomfortable for both managers and employees but they must be addressed properly.
After you’ve discussed these things, it’s time to shift towards the future, outline new goals, and ask the employees what are their plans for improvement. Be sure employees understand that you’re on their side, you want them to succeed and you will always be available to talk through their challenges and concerns.
That improves employee engagement. By ending on a forward-focused, positive, and a good note, the employee is more likely to leave the meeting feeling motivated and hopeful rather than criticized and discouraged.
7. Hold multiple evaluations throughout the year
While many employers conduct employee performance evaluations on an annual basis, often it is better to assess whether or not an employee’s achievements deserve a promotion or raise by holding quarterly or half-yearly review sessions which is beneficial for employees and employers.
More frequent reviews help reduce some of the pressure from the annual employee evaluation, get employees accustomed to discussing their achievements and challenges, and make receiving feedback less intimidating.
Plus, bringing up areas of improvement as soon as you witness a mistake provides employees the opportunity to change their behavior immediately, rather than continuing the same misstep repeatedly until the next scheduled formal review.
If handled professionally and thoughtfully, a performance review can be a win-win for everyone, leaving staff re-energized and clear about their career progression within your company. It also reassures you of knowing you have addressed areas of improvement for the company as well as the employees while inspiring staff to deliver their best effort for the year ahead.
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