Steps for Successful Performance Reviews

6 Steps for Successful Performance Reviews

Performance reviews aren’t fun for anyone.

They may be used to determine and distribute raises, but that shouldn’t be the sole purpose of your company’s performance reviews. Use annual reviews to address any problem areas, celebrate your employee’s strengths, and set your employee’s objectives for the next year.

Steps for Successful Performance Reviews

Give Employees Self-Assessments

Before their performance reviews, ask your employees to complete a self-assessment. Self-assessments will encourage your employees to start preparing for their reviews and can help you determine whether there’s a gap between how your employees see themselves and how you see them.

Self-assessments will also help you create an agenda for the performance review.

Set Goals and Objectives

When you’re setting your employee’s goals and objectives, make sure that they align with the company’s overall goals.

By setting clear goals that align with your company’s mission, you’re helping set your employee up for success.

Nothing revealed in a performance review should be a surprise for your employee, so use the employee’s goals and objectives as the metrics for their next performance review.

Be Specific

Any feedback you give your employee should be specific and actionable. Be prepared to give examples of behavior your employee has exhibited.

The feedback you give should be a mixture of positive and constructive feedback.

Discuss the Future

Use performance reviews as an opportunity to discuss the employee’s future at your company. This discussion can include continuous learning or development opportunities. Be sure to include these opportunities in your employee’s objectives.

If your employee underperformed, use this opportunity to discuss an improvement plan and schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss implementation of that plan.

Seek Feedback

Performance reviews should be a two-sided conversation. Encourage your employee to share their views on the company, work processes, and the culture.

You should also ask for your employee’s input on their goals and objectives to ensure they’re reasonable. This gives your employee a sense of ownership over their goals, which will motivate them to exceed expectations.

Give Feedback Throughout the Year

Performance reviews are often seen as ineffective because they happen too infrequently to be able to focus on all the work an employee has accomplished. Too often, performance reviews only focus on the most recent work an employee has done, so 11 months of excellent work can be overshadowed by just one month.

If you have informal performance reviews throughout the year, you can focus on the employee’s overall work. When employees receive feedback throughout the year, they have more time to process the feedback and act on it to improve their performance.

More frequent, informal performance reviews also allow you mentor underperforming employees throughout the year to bring them up to par before their formal, annual performance review.

Tips & Tricks

  • Scolding poor performance isn’t productive. Instead, if you have to criticize an employee’s efforts, offer it as a suggestion for improvement. You can work with the employee to devise a plan on how to improve their performance.
  • Because performance reviews can be very emotional for everyone involved, keep the conversation on task and don’t let any part of the review be a surprise.
    • When discussing your employee’s performance, make sure to focus on their work and not on them as a person.
    • Document the steps that your employee will take to address any issues.
  • Ask other employees for feedback to get a comprehensive view of each employee’s work.
  • Put everything in writing, then put the document in the employee’s file.