7 Tips for Conducting a Great Performance Review

Oct 12, 2017
| Michael Altiero
Tips For Conducting Performance Reviews
One of the most stressful times of the year for employees (and sometimes even managers) occurs around performance reviews. These meetings are incredibly important for everyone involved, including the business as a whole. For the employee, these meetings have implications on compensation, career development, and personal growth. And for managers, performance reviews give them a chance help their team members realign on key business objectives and set up their employees for future improvement and success.

While these meetings can be stressful, they also have the potential to benefit managers, employees, and organizations. When setup and executed the right way, performance reviews can have the following advantages:
  • Having an open line of communication in a caring and supportive environment can help strengthen the relationship between managers and their employees.
  • Employees are generally more productive and motivated when they understand how their contributions help achieve business goals.
  • Effective performance reviews can align your employee’s development and growth around the long-term objectives of the business.

As you can see, rethinking how your organization approaches performance reviews can have wide-ranging benefits – and not just to your employees. While thinking about how to improve your performance meetings, there are several things to keep in mind. These seven tips will help you conduct great performance review meetings!

1) Establish the Purpose of the Conversation

Employee’s shouldn’t go to a performance review without knowing their results – that’s because managers are responsible for telling them the company’s performance standards and provide regular coaching to meet these goals. Since you will both be going into the meeting already knowing the performance information, ask yourself, “What message do you want the employee to leave the room with?”

2) Outline Your Agenda for the Meeting

A performance meeting shouldn’t be a one-way conversation. By promoting discussion, you can help make the meeting more relaxed. Also, asking the employee for their own agenda can help provide a more open dialogue. Having a pre-meeting to set the date for the “formal” conversation, give your employee their last review, ask your employee to do a self-review, and find out their goals for the meeting will help the employee come equally prepared to the performance review.

3) Consider the Words You’ll Use

You’ll want to be direct, factual, and detail-oriented. Be objective—removing subjective or emotionally-charged language from your comments. When describing a performance problem, be specific and focus on issues and results in a nonjudgmental way.

4) Review the Relevant Parts of the Performance Review Form

Use the meeting to cover the highlights of the performance review form, including core competencies and job performance. Ask your employee to share their successes and the goals they have achieved. The success information is doubly valuable: it’s a form of recognition and it gives you a proven solution to share with others in a similar situation. Discuss any ongoing challenges or areas that need improvement.

5) Discuss Ideas for Development and An Action Plan

This should be one of the focal points of the meeting. Reviewing performance represents the past that both of you know. This portion of your meeting focuses on the future. Brainstorm ways to overcome challenges or improve performance. Find out what goals the employee has for their career. Talk about the skills and experience needed for the employee to accomplish their career objectives. This is how you can discover if the employee’s plans and the company’s plans are in alignment.

6) Agree on Specific Actions to Be Taken by Each of You

Both the manager and the employee should leave the meeting with items on their to-do list. The lists don’t have to be long—or have an equal number of items. The goal is to have a written action plan—with deadlines—that is achievable and valuable to everyone.

7) Summarize the Performance Review Meeting, Express Support, and Ask for Feedback

Wrap up the conversation by recapping the key discussion points. Thank the employee for their participation and show your appreciation for their efforts. Ask for feedback to find out if you’re giving the support needed for the employee to reach their goals. Lastly, don’t forget to ask for suggestions on how you can improve as a manager.

Managers: Get the Most out of Performance Reviews

Performance reviews are a necessary event in the workplace. However, if planned and executed properly, they don’t have to be something that increases office stress. Instead, these meetings can be used to increase employee engagement and happiness, all while setting your team up for future success. That’s a win for everyone!

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