Performance reviews are often stressful for both the employee and the manager. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you follow these simple steps, the review process can not only be productive, but insightful as well.
1. Be honest
Sometimes a performance review means giving negative feedback. While you may be tempted to avoid confrontation, in a performance review, honesty really is the best policy. By being honest with your employee, you show that you respect them, and that you are invested in them enough to help them improve.
2. Make the process easy
Keep the review process short and simple. The easier it is, the more likely employees are to engage in the process. Automated tools are a good way to help streamline the process and make it more collaborative. Hosting the performance review online also allows both employees and managers to refer back to the same ‘source of truth’ at any time throughout the year.
3. Avoid subjective ratings
Ratings can be subjective and ambiguous. Instead, try to have an open discussion around the employee’s professional development and their alignment with business goals. Use SMART KPIs to reduce the risk of misunderstood expectations. Ask open ended questions to encourage a discussion instead of a list of things they did right or wrong.
4. Conduct reviews more than once a year
Performance reviews held only once a year are not a particularly effective way to evaluate your employees or correct any problems. Instead, conduct multiple ‘mini’ reviews throughout the year (quarterly works for a lot of companies). This keeps employees on track and enables any issues to be addressed before annual review time rolls around. Use the formal annual performance review to gain a clear view on annual progress and also take the opportunity to recognise key achievements.
5. Separate performance reviews and pay reviews
By separating the performance review from the pay review, the employee can focus on their performance without getting defensive. It provides an environment where employees can really listen and digest any feedback instead of anticipating the bonus or pay increase.
6. Have employees review themselves
Make the review collaborative. This will ensure that the employee is invested in the review process and is an active participant rather than a passive listener. Let them contribute when setting goals. This lets your employees know they have a voice and that what they think matters to you. Also, this provides a chance for you to identify an employee that has different perceptions or bias about their own performance. This insight can give management the opportunity to address any red flags or correct the employee’s perception before it becomes a larger issue.
Employees who feel supported, have a clear action plan and an opportunity to be an active participant in their performance review are more likely to not only be engaged but also exceed expectations.
For more insights on increasing employee engagement, see our previous post here.