Four Steps to Less Dreadful (and Stressful) Performance Reviews

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Feb 20, 2015

If your role involves managing employees, you most likely have something in common with just about every other manager — you dread performance review time.

On the other side of this is your employee, who probably looks forward to the process being over just as much as you do.

It’s a similar scene for many companies; create the annual review for each employee and ask them to fill out a self-evaluation form as well. Set a time to meet, and awkwardly discuss each other’s feedback. And we wonder why no one seems to embrace the annual performance review process.

The truth is, performance reviews are very important, and when done well, can add a tremendous amount of value to any organization. Here are a few tips to make the process more productive and less painful for everyone involved.

1. Make it a process, not an event

Performance reviews are usually done once per year, but this should not be the only time your employees hear feedback from you.

Managers often scramble in the weeks, days or even hours before their performance review meeting to remember everything in the past year.

Set regular meetings with your employees throughout the year to share feedback, and keep track of the discussions. The annual review should consist mostly of reviewing feedback that was shared previously, and what actions have been taken based on that feedback.

2. Feedback is a two-way street

Make sure that the performance review is not all about the employee and their performance.

Ask your employee for feedback on your management. How can you change to improve the relationship? This isn’t always easy for an employee, especially someone who is a bit shy.

Consider starting them off by pointing out something you have identified in yourself that you want to work on. This may help them be more comfortable opening up.

3. Focus on the positives but don’t ignore the negatives

A good starting place for a performance review is the positive side; goals exceeded, improvements made, new skills learned, etc. Make sure not to shy away from the areas for improvement though.

You will be doing your employee and yourself a disservice if you don’t openly address the areas that need improvement. You’ll be surprised how positively employees react to constructive criticism, if done properly and after credit is given for the positive side of the review.

4. Leave with an action plan

You could conduct the best annual review after a year full of consistent feedback, but if you don’t leave with a plan, you wasted a lot of time and energy.

Make sure to set measurable goals for you and your employee and find a mechanism to track your progress. Check on your plan on a regular basis and guess what? Yup, continue to give feedback throughout the year and plan for next year’s performance review – which you no longer dread!

This was originally published on the Genesis HR Solutions blog.

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