Too many of us dread performance reviews – both giving and receiving. But, if done right, they’ll do so much more than simply take up time asking questions and giving answers that simply check off a box and truly help make each employee better.
- Prepare. Before jumping in, think about what you want to get out of it – and what you want the employees to get out of it. Figure out your end goal and plan backwards to how you’ll make that happen effectively.
- Location and logistics. If you want to create a conversation rather than an interrogation, consider the set-up: Have it in a private location if possible so the employee feels comfortable discussing confidential matters. If possible, use a smaller, round table or at least sit adjacent to them to facilitate a back-and-forth feeling.
- Get feedback from multiple people. Before sitting down with the employee, talk to those who have worked closely with them to get a fuller picture of how they work. This will help strengthen the performance review.
- Demystify the experience. As you sit down together, make the agenda clear from the get-go. Tell them the main components you want to focus on (no more than three or four) and make sure they know, again, that it’s a discussion where they’ll have the chance to look at achievement of past goals and set-up of future goals.
- Encourage openness and honesty. To keep that back-and-forth going, make sure the employee knows it’s all right for them to truly say what they think, especially in terms of what they think went well or needs improvement. Make it an opportunity for them to give constructive criticism as well as receiving it and that they won’t suffer repercussions for speaking their minds.
- Let the employee lead. You want to speak for less than half of the time; ask open-ended questions that let them take the lead.
- Accentuate the positive… Make sure to tell the person what they’ve done well and improved upon since the last review.
- …But don’t ignore the negative. If an employee has gotten off track or started patterns of behavior that negatively affect their work and/or those around them, make sure to bring it up and work with them on a plan to improve. As a side note, should severe problems arise, don’t wait until the performance review: Deal with them immediately and look over what changes have occurred during the review.
- End the review with mutual understanding. Before you leave, make sure that each of you knows the expectations moving forward, as well as a clear picture of overall performance, strengths and weaknesses, and goals and objectives. Each person should walk out feeling clear about how best to move forward.
- Review the process afterward. Take some time, by yourself and with members of HR, to go over what you feel went well and what you might change for next time. You may even want to solicit anonymous employee feedback so the experience can become even more valuable for next time.
Performance reviews can act as a valuable part of an employee’s tenure and a terrific way to have a successful team. For help on finding that next valued employee, visit the experts at PrideStaff!
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