Performance reviews are a dreaded task for managers and employees alike. Giving and receiving feedback is a delicate process, but with the right strategy and tools, employee evaluations can aid in your company’s growth and culture. Let’s examine the best practices on how to approach conducting performance reviews.
What not to do when conducting performance reviews
One of the biggest reasons managers dread performance reviews is the uncomfortable task of giving negative feedback to unproductive employees.Tension is high and it’s easy for emotions to take over an otherwise calm discussion. Avoid an unproductive and uncomfortable conversation by staying away from the following:
1. Don’t push off reviews until the end of the year
Waiting to give constructive feedback is like vowing to make a change once the New Year comes. Why wait? Give feedback and offer suggestions as soon as you notice a problem. This way, it creates opportunities for the employee to grow and learn from their mistakes and mitigates the chance of a one-time mistake becoming a perpetual problem.
2. Avoid speaking in absolutes
Speaking in absolute terms such as “you always forget about x” or “you’re never on time with y” places the employee on the defensive. Rather than thinking about how they can improve, they’ll stop listening and try to think of examples to disprove your example. Instead, ask questions like “What functions do you think you can improve?” or “Where do you think you can grow?”
3. Don’t criticize what’s out of their control
Like the weather and toddlers, there are some things employees can’t control. It sounds like an easy guideline but a lot of supervisors and HR professionals criticize an employee for functions outside of their role and responsibility. This is not the same as docking a few points for failing to go above and beyond their expected duties, but rather goals or tasks employees were not told about or could in no way actually complete. Providing harsh feedback about something an employee knew nothing about is a sure-fire way to pit them against you.
4. Never result to personal insults
Respect must be earned before it’s given. No matter how much you don’t respect or even like your employee, there’s never a time for personal insults, attacks, or threats. Keep your comments focused on what is known, documented, related to company policies, and stated in their job expectations.
How to properly conduct performance reviews
Administering a productive performance review will help you track and rate an employee’s performance and manage the department’s goal progress. Now that we’ve outlined what not to do in employee evaluations, let’s dive into how you can effectively communicate criticism and feedback.
1. Offer feedback and criticism as soon as possible
As I mentioned above, don’t wait until the end of the year to offer feedback and criticism. While the actual performance review may only be once a year or once a quarter, give corrections or positive feedback much more frequently. You’ll avoid repeat problems and a hardworking employee will feel recognized.
2. Conduct the review in person
It’s tempting to administer feedback over email, but it’s not as effective and opens up possibilities for misunderstandings. A face-to-face meeting ensures clear communication and drastically reduces the chances of a misunderstanding. Meet with your employee in person so you both have a chance to be fully heard and understood.
3. Be specific and detail-oriented
Include details and specific examples of what you like about an employee’s progress or what can be improved. Comments like “Great job!” or “Pick up the slack” are neither helpful nor constructive. Instead, give concrete examples of what you appreciate about an employee’s work or what they could be doing to improve. Providing details about their professional progress gives them exact instructions on how to improve their individual performance as well as how they can boost company goals.
4. Open up the conversation
Performance reviews should be a conversation. Be open to what the employee has to say about their experience and if they have any suggestions towards your management style or the company in general. Whether or not you take the advice, it lets the employee know their voice is heard and valued.
5. Share Positive Things
It’s daunting to sit down with your manager and go over all the job functions you could improve. Try to share a positive thought or provide a moment of recognition at the end of the review. Ending performance reviews on a positive note can be a powerful tool to increase engagement and inspire your employees to do the best work possible.
Performance reviews don’t have to be a dreaded process. With the right software, performance reviews can improve office productivity and drive company growth. If you’re ready to modernize employee evaluation, track and rate performance, and automate review cycles, request a quote for Dominion’s newest product: Performance Reviews. Our new feature is fully equipped to easily track and rate performance based on competencies, manage goal progress, evaluate day-to-day performance, gather critical feedback, and even send reminders and notifications. Once complete, use the data to make informed decisions, gain insight on overall performance for your company, and create individual action plans for the next review cycle.