Keys to Better Performance Reviews

Posted by Creatiq Support | Thursday, November 17, 2016

Keys to Better Performance Reviews

Posted by Creatiq Support | Thursday, November 17, 2016

Performance reviews are a key component of effective human resources management, but they are
rarely anyone’s favorite part of the year.

“For many employees, a face-to-face performance review is the most
stressful work conversation they’ll have all year,” writes
Rebecca Knight in the Harvard Business Review. “For managers, the
discussion is just as tense.”

Part of the problem is the nature of performance reviews themselves.
Inherently, a candid conversation about an employee’s work will involve both
positives and negatives, and the fact that reviews are often tied to
compensation leads to a high-stakes atmosphere that can cause tension on both
sides. However, there are steps that smart managers can take to minimize the
stress, improve communication between employer and employee, and improve
performance and productivity year round.

Be clear ahead of time about your performance expectations.

It is important that you begin looking ahead to the next round of
performance reviews as soon as the previous round concludes – or even before.
“The performance review doesn’t start with a sit-down in the spare
conference room,” Knight writes. “You must be clear from the outset
how you’ll evaluate your employees.”

Victor Lipman, writing
for Forbes, agrees. “If you have clarity about what the objectives are,
and better still if the employee is involved in their development, that’s a
great starting point.”

You may wish to consider hosting smaller, informal meetings during the year
with each of your employees in which you share your expectations and solicit
their feedback about goals – both yours and theirs. In this way, the
end-of-year review becomes just one part of an ongoing conversation about job
performance that involves input from both sides.

Consider having a formal mid-year evaluation.

As a supplement to the suggestion above, you may find it is useful to
schedule a formal, sit-down evaluation of your employees in the middle of the
year. By doing this, you can let your employees know how they are doing and
what they need to improve in order to have a good evaluation at the end of the
year, when raises, promotions, and other incentives may be on the line.

Lipman notes that having a mid-year evaluation will help keep you on track.
He writes, “This will impose rigor on the process and force you to gather
the necessary data to make a meaningful assessment – plus it will make the
process a whole lot easier when you get to year end.”

Another upside to a mid-year evaluation is that it gives your employees an
idea what to expect in the end-of-year evaluation, potentially defusing some of
the stress that comes with that event.

Help your employees grow through the evaluation process.

It’s not enough to just recite a list of the good and bad aspects of your
employees’ job performance – it is imperative that you show them a path forward
to better performance in the future.

“After discussing the strengths and achievements of your solid
performers, ask them how they feel about how things are going,” Knight
writes, noting that most employees will open up with honest concerns and
questions. This gives you, as a manager, an opportunity to coach them into
better performance.

Knight suggests asking follow-up questions to help them focus on
improvement. “What is the employee doing now that is not working? What are
they doing that is highly effective? What actions should they adopt to be more
so?” she writes. “By focusing on behaviors not dispositions, it takes
the personal edge out of the conversation.”

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