Bosses and their employees alike fear the dreaded performance review. While it is an extremely useful tool for corporate managers and employees, any criticism delivered incorrectly can easily backfire and cause a loss of motivation. The main purpose of a review is to give your employees feedback, offering them advice on their weak points and praise for their strengths. If you are feeling anxious about giving your employees a review, here are a few tips that will help mitigate the stress for both parties.
Create a Balance Between Formal and Informal
While an annual formal review is your designated time to give detailed and individualized feedback to an employee, it should not be the only time you offer critiques. One formal review per year can hang over an employee’s head like a cloud. Instead, offer casual reviews throughout the year. Check in with your employees regularly and let them know what they are doing right and where there is room for improvement. This is particularly helpful for new employees, who appreciate a bit of structure. If your employees are accustomed to getting your feedback in a casual setting, an annual formal review will not seem so stressful.
Make It Into a Conversation
A performance review should not be one-sided because this may leave your employee feeling berated. Keep conversation lines open throughout the review. It should be a mutual process to grow and learn. You have valuable information to give to them, and they might have some to give to you, as well. A performance review lets your employees learn how to be better workers, but it also might give you insight into ways to streamline workflow or job duties. Consider holding the review in a low-key environment, like a coffee shop or a quiet corner of the office. It can be much easier to get a message across when you have broken the formality barrier.
Address What Your Employee Is Doing Right, Too
If your employee is lacking in some areas and thriving in others, make sure to outline both. Of course, a performance review is about how employees can improve, but most people are motivated by praise. Tell your employee what his or her strong points are in addition to pointing out areas that need improvement. The added praise will give him or her the boost needed to do better in other ways.
Build a Performance Improvement Plan
If your employee is not performing to expectations, he or she may benefit from a performance improvement plan. Simply handing a plan over to your employee may make him or her feel punished. Instead, create one together. Identify key areas where your employee needs to show improvement, and then identify concrete ways for him or her to achieve it. If you develop the plan together, your employee will be more engaged, have a better handle on expectations, and be much more motivated to improve.