5 Tactics for a Productive Performance Review

Performance review time can be a stressful time of the year. Both employers and employees have certain expectations, and every company has a different system for conducting reviews. As a manager or human resources professional, it is important to make sure you conduct productive performance reviews and avoid some common mistakes. How can you ensure that performance reviews are conducted in a way that is beneficial to individuals and the company as a whole? Read on for a few ideas.

  1. Be specific with feedback: It will not help you, your employees, or your company to give vague, cookie-cutter feedback about an employee’s performance. It will likely leave your employee feeling unfulfilled and anxious. Even if the feedback is negative or unfavorable, by honestly assessing your employees’ work, you can help them improve professionally and simultaneously benefit the company by raising the bar on employee standards.
  2. Reach far back: Don’t be caught giving your employees feedback on the last three weeks of work they’ve done simply because that’s all you can recall. Preparing adequately may require more effort throughout the year by taking note of an employee’s excellent or sub-par performance for future reference. By making quick notes and storing them in a file for annual reviews, you’ll be able to quickly reference specific situations for your employees to learn from and from which they can begin to build plans to improve their actions and performance.
  3. Don’t shy away from negative feedback: Because of the nature of performance reviews, and because there is no such thing as a perfect employee, negative feedback is really a given. Reviews that are only positive can in fact be more detrimental than negative ones, because it does not benefit the company to leave the level of expectation at the same place it was the previous year. And for your employees’ sake, negative feedback can help them structure new goals for the coming year.
  4. Set new goals: While some employers settle for a 10-minute review session to discuss the previous year, this approach misses the golden opportunity afforded by a review meeting to talk about goals for the coming year. The performance review meeting is an excellent time to have a candid conversation with your employees about what goals they can set in order to improve upon their performance. Using the feedback you just provided, you and the employee can set goals with milestones and check-ins to ensure they are on a path toward progress.
  5. Be professional: Don’t chat with the employee in an effort to make the meeting more comfortable. Straightforwardness is the best method, even if your feedback is negative. The work place is expected to be a professional atmosphere, so adhere to the expectation by keeping to the specific purpose of the meeting.
What do you think about these tips for a productive performance review? What has worked well in your organization? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!