Steps for Successful Performance Reviews

6 Steps for Successful Performance Reviews

Performance reviews aren’t fun for anyone, but they can be useful. You might use them to

  • determine and distribute raises
  • address problem areas
  • celebrate your team member’s strengths
  • set goals for the upcoming year

Follow these six steps to hold successful and productive performance reviews.

1. Give employee self-assessments

Before their performance reviews, ask each member of your staff to complete a self-assessment. These will encourage your team to start preparing for their evaluation and can help you determine whether there’s a gap between how they see themselves and how you see them. Self-assessments will also help you create an agenda for the meeting.

2. Set goals and objectives

When you’re setting your employees’ goals, make sure that they align with the company’s overall mission. This will help set your worker up for success. Nothing revealed in a performance review should be a surprise for your team member, so use their objectives as the metrics for next year’s evaluation.

3. Be specific

Any feedback you give an employee should be specific and actionable. Be prepared to provide examples of exhibited behavior. Then, share what they should do to continue pursuing favorable actions or how to stop unwanted conduct.

4. Discuss the future

Use performance reviews as an opportunity to discuss the worker’s future at your company. This discussion can include continuous learning or development opportunities. Just be sure to include these opportunities in their objectives. If someone under-performed, use this opportunity to discuss an improvement plan and schedule follow-up meetings to discuss progress. Learn more about how to develop a performance improvement plan.

5. Seek feedback

Performance reviews should be a two-sided conversation, so encourage your team member to share their views on the company, work processes, and culture. You should also ask for their input on their goals to ensure they’re reasonable. This gives your staff a sense of ownership over their objectives, which will motivate them to exceed expectations.

Read also: 7 Tips for Creating a Feedback Rich Culture

6. Check in throughout the year

Performance reviews are often seen as ineffective because they happen too infrequently to be able to focus on all the work someone has accomplished. Too often, they only focus on the most recent work an employee has done, so 11 months of excellent work can be overshadowed by just off one month. If you have informal performance reviews throughout the year, however, you can focus on the person’s overall work. That way, they’ll have more time to process the feedback and act on it to improve their performance.

More frequent, informal discussions also allow you to mentor underperforming workers throughout the year to bring them up to par before their formal annual evaluation.

More tips & tricks for success performance reviews

  • Scolding poor performance isn’t productive. If you must criticize someone’s efforts, offer it as a suggestion for improvement. Then, work with them to devise a plan on how to improve their performance. Read also: How to Have Difficult Conversations with Your Employees
  • Because performance reviews can be very emotional for everyone involved, keep the conversation on task and don’t let any part of the evaluation be a surprise.
  • When discussing your employee’s performance, make sure to focus on their work and not on them as a person.
  • Ask other team members for feedback to get a full, 360 degree understand of each person’s work.
  • Put everything in writing and store the document in the employee’s personnel file.