It seems no one likes employee reviews. Managers are nervous about giving them, and employees are nervous about receiving them. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The key is to make sure everyone knows what’s expected; then, a review can be a positive process for everyone. Just consider the 10 key steps to reviewing your staff:
- Look to provide regular feedback and set goals.
- Let your employees know exactly what is expected of them.
- Document each employee’s job plan or job expectation. Describe in writing exactly what you’re looking for in the employee and exactly how you will assess performance. Include the employee’s role in the evaluation process.
- Share with the employee how your company will assess performance. Make sure you identify the behaviors necessary for successful performance in a review format that you share with the employee. Document positive occurrences—for example, a completed project—as well as negative behaviors, such as a missed deadline, for the time period the performance review covers. Reinforce good performance and correct poor performance.
- Solicit feedback from colleagues who have worked closely with the employee, such as supervisors, coworkers and any reporting staff. These ratings help to broaden the performance information you can provide the employee.
- Never go into a performance review without preparation. When you wing it, a performance review fails. You’ll miss key opportunities for feedback and improvement, and the employee won’t feel encouraged about his or her successes.
- Practice approaches with your human resources staff, a colleague or your manager. Jot down notes, including the main points of feedback. The more you can identify patterns and give examples, the better the employee will understand and be able to act upon the feedback.
- Spend time on the positive aspects of the employee’s performance—this part should take up more time than the negative feedback. Discuss ways the employee can continue to grow. The employee will find this discussion rewarding and motivating.
- Don’t neglect to discuss areas that need improvement. Speak directly and don’t mince words. You want the employee to understand the seriousness of the performance situation.
- If your intention is genuine in wanting to help your employee improve, the conversation is easier and more effective. Your employee should trust that you want to help improve his or her performance and that you have confidence in his or her ability to grow.
If you’re doing all the talking, the meeting becomes a lecture, and the performance review is less effective. You want each employee to be motivated and excited about his or her ability to continue to grow, develop and contribute. Ask your employees about what support the department can provide to help them reach the goals you’ve both set for future performance.
Performance communication should be an ongoing dialogue that can enhance your relationship with your employees, improve the performance of your company and enhance employee/manager communications, creating an environment of continual feedback and professional development.