Nine Tips for Great Performance Reviews

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“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.”
John Maxwell

Andrea Schlapia

It’s the time of year managers and employees alike dread most. Stress and anxiety levels rise as they mutter complaints about performance reviews. To top it off, a recent Leadership IQ study found that only 13% of 48,000 leaders found reviews useful.

Effective performance reviews are an opportunity for honest and open communication. Although past performance is discussed, you can inspire and engage employees by placing the focus on plans for the future. As leaders, you need to change the perception of performance reviews from ineffective, uncomfortable and critical to collaborative and positive, even when they communicate negative results.

Here are nine actions managers can take to encourage and motivate employees during performance reviews:

  1. Hold reviews on neutral ground: Get out of the office! One of the worst places to hold a review is on your turf. Employees will feel more relaxed and are more likely to contribute to a conversation in a neutral environment.

  2. Know your team: Attitude and performance are two key components of every team member’s evaluation. The two are linked. At times there are outside forces causing employee unhappiness, poor attitude and unsatisfactory performance. Be friendly enough to know what’s going on in their lives. This doesn’t mean you need to be friends with employees, but you should know them well enough to talk casually about their life outside of work. This will develop trust and allow you to see the whole picture.

  3. Have systems and processes in place: Employees want to belong to a company that manage people well and has a consistent performance review process. Share your process with employees early on. This will avoid surprise and to create mutual respect between both parties.

  4. Hold informal meetings: Make performance management part of your culture. Schedule informal reviews throughout the year to improve communication, build rapport and provide a benchmark to ensure goals are consistently met. Employees will support what they help create. This is a great time to reassess tasks and collaborate with team members.