Traditional performance reviews are uncomfortable for everyone involved, and most of the time you finish them as quickly as possible and forget about it. But they are a requirement by most HR departments, so why not make the most out of them? Follow these five steps, and you’ll likely have a much better outcome in your performance evaluations.
Prepare for the review. Because most managers dread performance reviews as much as the employees, they tend to procrastinate on the actual preparation. However, you need to prepare to give your employees the opportunity they deserve to receive honest feedback and engage in a dialogue on their past year with the company. Consider the space (is it a comfortable and private place to talk?), how you’re going to lead the conversation, and what highlights and/or issues of their performance you want to address.
Have employees submit self-reviews prior to the meeting. Even the best supervisors and managers don’t know everything that an employee accomplishes and struggles with throughout the course of a year. A potential performance issue may be a simple misunderstanding. Maybe the employee faced challenges they were not prepared to handle, yet they were uncomfortable telling you exactly what happened. And, they will be able to highlight successes earlier in the year that the supervisor may not recall.
Don’t just ask the supervisor for a review. You may want to also get feedback from coworkers, long-term clients, and people in other departments for feedback. They can provide valuable insight into how your employees interact with each other, how they inspire productivity in others, and how they treat your customers and business partners. You’ll also be able to uncover issues with unprofessional or counterproductive members of a department.
Reward according to performance. Don’t just look for issues, reward your employees for their success! You can offer bonuses, pay raises, or simply a company-wide recognition for those who exceed their expectations. This offers an incentive for employees to not only prepare for their performance reviews, but will motivate them for the new year to do even better. If you’re going to offer compensation for excellence, however, make sure the reward is set before the performance reviews, and it is fair and equally given to all employees.
Create a plan for future improvement. If you do find areas in which your employees can improve, don’t just tell them. Work with them too create a plan of action for improvement, and motivate them to follow it. People don’t want to feel that they’re doing poorly at their jobs (especially since most define work as the highest marker of success), but they can’t improve unless you help them. Setting clear goals and providing training will help your performance reviews measure results year after year.
If anything, make your performance review a personable conversation. If you’re just going through the motions, you won’t help yourself, the company, or the employee in any way. To make your performance reviews meaningful, you have to believe that they can be first.