7 Ways to Give Better Performance Reviews

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 Company Evaluation Improvement FormPerformance reviews; it’s a scary phrase for employees. What about the managers and bosses who give them? It is just as nerve wracking for them because they hold the future to employees’ careers. Before entering the board room to prepare for the dreaded performance review, take a minute.  Be honest with employees. Sugarcoating the truth never helps anyone, and it won’t solve any performance problems. Here are some things to keep in mind before beginning the review.

1. Specificity

Employees won’t know their true performance if the reviews are nothing besides a bunch of “good work” lines. Take the time to think about the review beforehand so it is clear and concise. Specify what exactly they are doing well, as well as areas where they need improvement. It not only helps them learn, it increases their productivity. It gives the manager a guideline for the next year to see how the employee progressed within the year.

2. Be Honest

Don’t tell an employee he or she is doing well if the person isn’t. Repeat offenses leading to dismissal from the organization blindsides him or her, leaving the employee angry. Giving employees a lecture on what they need to change won’t fix the problem either. Lead them through their shortcomings. Give employees a helping hand, tips, etc., to guide them to a better finish. The goal as a leader is to better others and help them grow. Simply scolding employees does everything but help them learn; they become distressed and unengaged.

3. Preparation

What would it be like if a teacher walked into an exam without the tests? It is the same concept if a manager walks into a performance review unprepared to counsel his or her employee. Adequately analyzing the employee’s performance over the last year requires preparation. If the HR department doesn’t have a system for formalizing reviews, consider suggesting one. This would not only help with the organization and preparation of the review, but the standardization as well.

4. Tell them they did a good job

Everyone enjoys, and quite frankly needs positive reinforcement. Humans respond better to positive motivation rather than negative. Boundless explains corporate positive motivation as “a positive factor to motivate employees to do a better job.”

5. Tell them they work hard

There are some employees who work harder than others. They deserve recognition for it. They will stay a little later or skip breaks to get more done. Some employees will pick up the slack of others who don’t quite match up to par. Acknowledge any extra work during performance reviews so employees know their extra time and effort does not go unnoticed.

6. Setting goals

Laying a timeline of goals during a performance review will increase the chance of progressive development in employees. Setting objectives gives employees specifics to reach for. Ryan Prestel says to create SMART goals for employees. Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Based.

7. Career path

Ask employees where they see themselves going. It’s possibly not a lifetime career in their current organization, but that doesn’t mean they can’t learn tools for their ultimate career goals. Even if they chose to stay, it is important to cultivate their skills and talents so they can grow in the organization.

Performance reviews are never easy for either side of the table. Simply giving employees pats on the back and rewards won’t help them learn if there are areas that need improvement. A well-managed performance review will leave an employee feeling accomplished with some room for improvement. Use these seven tips to help managers conduct performance reviews more effectively.

What methods have worked for your performance reviews?

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Sarah Duke is a Content Creator at Red Branch Media, a marketing and advertising firm that serves the Human Resources and Recruiting markets. Red Branch Media has grown from a simple consultancy to a full-service B2B marketing agency. Duke brings a history of Public Affairs experience to Red Branch and enjoys writing about the HCM Marketplace.
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