Performance reviews are uncomfortable for everybody involved, and there isn’t much you can do to avoid that. Having to provide your employees with negative feedback is necessary, but that doesn’t make it any easier. So why does nearly every company require them? Well, when conducted correctly, they can actually be a good tool to increase productivity and improve office communication. Below are some tips and ideas to help eliminate the tension and make your performance reviews successful.
Provide Feedback Consistently
Employees should not have to wait until their next performance review to see how they’re doing. Feedback should be given as it is relevant, otherwise it will lose it’s effectiveness. If a group of employees does really well on a project, be sure to tell them so. If somebody consistently shows up late, reprimand them after the second or third time. This will make performance reviews much less uncomfortable by eliminating the need to list off everything they’ve done wrong since you last met. Instead, cover the overall performance of your employee, and refer to specific examples that emphasize your points.
Phrase Comments and Criticisms Well
One of your employees opens a strange email and releases a virus into your system, but your IT team works together and clears the issue quickly and with minimal damage. Although they’re just doing their jobs, these IT workers deserve more than a simple “good job.” Poor phrasing with compliments will make them sound tired and insincere. The same rings true for criticism - being stern with your employees is different than being mean. You should get your point across firmly but not aggressively. Using the right language during your performance reviews will make them more effective and make your employees less apprehensive about them.
Find Solid Solutions
Performance reviews are useless if everybody walks away without a plan of action to implement. Whatever constructive criticisms you give your employee, make sure you work together to come up with a solution. These solutions should be specific enough so your employee has no doubt about what steps he or she needs to follow for improvement. Then, when you meet for your next review, you can discuss whether or not you both believe those steps were taken and performance has increased.
For more information, watch our Webinar "Reframing the (Dreaded) Performance Review."