One of the most nerve-wracking events at any office is the annual performance review. Employees tend to hate the stress involved with hearing a year’s worth of feedback in one sitting. Managers typically dislike the levels of formality that official performance reviews require. Still, performance reviews serve a vital function at any productive workplace.
As we approach the end of the year – and the performance reviews that come along with it – let us stop to consider three tips for giving great feedback.
1. Be clear, concise and prepared.
The most important step to giving a great performance review is to be clear, concise and prepared when you are speaking with your employee. We recommend that you prepare for the review by assembling all of the materials that you believe you will need to complete the review. Then, take the time to speak with a few of your colleagues (if applicable) about the employee in question to get a more-rounded impression of the employee’s performance.
Once you have a complete view of the employee’s performance over the course of the year, you can distill that information down into a clear and concise review.
2. Engage with the employee and encourage their engagement.
Many performance reviews end up being a manager reading off a sheet of paper to an employee. Although that method may alleviate some of the stress associated with a performance review, it is far better to engage with your employees as individuals during the process. As you work through the review, stop and allow your employee to ask questions, give explanations or even direct the conversation to topics that they think are important.
When you truly engage with your employees during the performance review process, they are more likely to take your words to heart.
3. Set up an action plan for follow-up.
Many employees (and employers, too!) secretly believe that performance reviews are not at all effective. This is due in large part to the fact most performance reviews have no real consequences. In order to ensure that your employees take performance reviews to heart, the onus is on you to schedule regular follow-ups.
During the performance review, consider setting several concrete goals with your employee. You should also discuss the actions necessary to meet those goals. Finally, you should schedule regular meetings to discuss the employee’s progress toward these goals.
Performance reviews have gotten a bad reputation for being stressful wastes of time. Still, a well-done annual performance review is vital to the success of any business. If you are willing to put in the work before, during and after the performance review process, you, too, can give performance reviews that are helpful and stress-free.