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Do's and Dont's of Conducting Performance Reviews

This is a guest post by Katie Alteri

At least once a year, your company should conduct employee performance reviews. These reviews will allow you to reflect on each employee’s contribution to your company, while also providing constructive criticism that will help them to grow in their roles. In fact, 50 percent of employees think that performance reviews will enable them to advance in their careers.

Of course, not every performance review will be stellar, especially if you have an under-performing employee. Still, performance reviews are crucial, because it gives you the opportunity to address issues, while also acknowledging your employees’ strengths.

In this post, we’ll list the do’s and don’ts of conducting performance reviews, so that you and your employees can both learn from these conversations.

Do: Ask Employees to Complete a Self-Evaluation

Prior to meeting with an employee, you should send them a self-evaluation form to complete. This form should include questions about their performance, work ethic, ability to comply with company rules, and how they’ve improved since their last evaluation. You should ask that employees complete the form as honestly as possible, since it can be easy to give oneself a glowing review.

Once you receive your employee’s self-evaluation form and have finished your own evaluation of them, take time to compare the two evaluations. While doing this, you should take note of areas that don’t match up. These can be important subjects to discuss in the meeting, as you’ll want to see why you and the employee aren’t seeing eye-to-eye.

Don’t: Do All the Talking

While conducting a performance review, it can be tempting as a manager to completely monopolize the conversation. Still, it’s pivotal that you open the floor to your employee to share their thoughts and ask questions.

If you talk the entire time, you won’t be able to gain insights into what your employees think about their role, team, company culture, and other aspects of their employment. Therefore, you won’t be able to give them tips on how to progress in their role or provide other necessary solutions.

Do: Start with The Positive First

When you conduct a performance review, you should begin by talking about your employee’s strengths. Thank them for their service and point out what you think they’re succeeding at.

For example, an employee might have an excellent attitude when handling customer service issues or could excel at the intricacies of their role, like an IT employee who is skilled in the technological programs that your company uses.

By focusing on positive aspects, the employee will feel at ease, and they’ll be less likely to get defensive if you bring up areas that they need to improve upon.

Remember, performance reviews might be stressful for your employees, so you should try to create a calm, fair environment from the start.

Don’t: Forget to Ask for Feedback

In addition to addressing your employee’s strengths and weaknesses, you should ask them if they have any feedback for you as a manager. Sometimes, managers can be apprehensive to ask their employees for constructive criticism, but it can be extremely useful.

You might not realize that your employee would appreciate more consistent feedback on their performance, or would benefit from a more hands-off management approach. Getting your employee’s opinions on how your management style can help you improve, which matters too!

Do: Keep a Record of All Performance Reviews

Performance reviews can be used to keep a historical record of each employees’ progress. This is especially helpful if you’re considering who to promote, or if you’re having issues with a staff member and want to see what their past reviews detailed.

In addition, when conducting future reviews, it can be beneficial to look back at the most recent review to see how the employee has improved or declined in their work performance.

By taking the time to find or develop a performance reivew template that will work for all employees, you can easily keep track of what has been discussed during previous performance reviews and keep a record that moves forward with your employees.

Don’t: Discuss Performance Reviews with Other Employees

When conducting performance reviews, it’s critical that you uphold complete confidentiality by not discussing employees’ reviews with other members of your staff.

Typically, the individual that conducts the review is the employee’s direct manager, so sharing information with other employees isn’t necessary. It could create unnecessary drama, and contribute to a culture of office gossip, which shouldn’t be promoted.

Start Giving Better Performance Reviews

Now that we’ve reviewed the do’s and don’ts of employee reviews, it’s time to put these tips into practice. By thoroughly preparing for performance reviews, respecting your staff, and creating an open forum where your employees feel comfortable asking questions or sharing their concerns, you’ll be able to make the most of these meetings!

Need more help with performance reviews? Browse performance management training

Katie Alteri is the content marketing coordinator at Fora Financial, a company that provides small business loans to businesses across the U.S.

Last updated: 30 Jul 2019

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