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How to Improve Your Performance Reviews Plan

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Traditional performance reviews have needed a refresh for some time. Your management and HR team know it, but they may be too overwhelmed to create a new process from scratch. The good news is a new performance review model doesn’t have to be incredibly taxing. With the right ideas and software, you’ll see some great results in less time than you think. 

Embrace frequent reviews

The annual performance review is an old-school model of conducting employee management. It is not entirely ineffective, but research has shown that employees prefer more frequent check-ins. Think about what type of frequent performance reviews work best for your company. Would a quarterly review be more productive? What about weekly one-on-ones to discuss what is going well and what struggles employees are constantly facing? Try to keep things relatively informal and simple so they don’t require a ton of planning for both parties. These informal, frequent reviews are more likely to build a stronger relationship between the employee and their manager, and consequently improve the employee’s performance. 

Restructure formal review questions

Formal performance review questions are often too subjective. For example, “How well does this employee perform on a scale of one to ten?” might at first seem like a reasonable thing to ask, but the answer is entirely subjective on who is answering the question. Instead, what if you asked, “What would you do if this employee were offered another job outside of our company?” Questions that require in-depth thought to complete are generally more insightful. 

Of course, you can create valuable performance review questions by combining in-depth questions with formal, rated questions as well, just as long as they work together to provide actionable insight into an employee’s overall job performance. 

Shine a light on the future

Traditional performance reviews have a habit of focusing too much on the past and not enough on the future. To avoid an unproductive performance review meeting, Gallup suggests speaking about what is happening right now, what needs to happen next, and what can be done to get there. If there has been problematic behavior in the past, set clear expectations and performance goals for the future and how those goals will be measured. Creating a dialogue helps employees feel heard and valued, as well as how their efforts align with company-wide initiatives. 

Improve on strengths

Research shows it’s better to focus on what an employee is doing well rather than dwelling on too many negatives. If managers focus too heavily on weaknesses, an employee’s performance can drop by as much as 27 percent. However, if they focus on strengths, performance can improve up to 36 percent. You should not ignore an employee’s weaknesses, but if you want to see better results and happier, more long-term employees, it pays to help them build on their strengths. When discussing negative feedback, be specific and objective, and attempt to sandwich it between other positive statements. 

Invest in your employees

In an insightful 2020 report, LinkedIn reported that a staggering 94 percent of employees surveyed said they would stay with a company longer if they felt it offered great learning and development opportunities. Frequent or quarterly performance reviews offer a great chance to discuss what your employees are interested in professionally. Ask what they want to learn more about in your organization, and if you’re capable, give them a roadmap to pursue those goals. If you can, give employees more training and responsibilities to help develop their professional skillset and careers. Fill open positions internally with great employees you already have. Chances are, you’ll retain top talent. 

Back your process with great software

Once you’ve established a clear and more frequent performance review process, optimize your new reviews with great software. Dominion’s Performance Reviews is fully equipped to rate performance, manage goal progress, and gather critical feedback. Easily assign and rate competencies, evaluate day-to-day performance, send notifications, and more. Request a free, personalized demo for our Performance Reviews software to get started. 


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