Performance review season can be frustrating for both employers and team members. Too often, they come across as either useless or punitive. Yet a performance review can be an excellent opportunity to open the lines of communication, provide valuable feedback to your staff, and learn about issues that could be affecting your company. Here are four tips to improve your performance reviews.
Keep up All Year
Performance reviews shouldn’t happen in a vacuum. Throughout the year, maintain regular feedback sessions. Keep track of the accolades or positive feedback that your employees receive from coworkers or clients. Before meeting with each employee, take a few moments to consider the entire year rather than just the past few weeks.
Ask for Help
You can’t see and hear everything that goes on in your company, which means that your performance review could be incomplete. Fill in the gaps in your knowledge by asking for peer reviews from those your employee closely works with. Consider asking for a self-report as well.
If the employee made a one-time mistake, don’t harp on it. Take the entirety of the year into account, leave room for people being human, and account for external factors such as the department being short-staffed. Also, take time to listen to your employee’s reactions. If you’ve been giving feedback all year, the performance review shouldn’t be a shock. Still, it’s normal to react defensively if feeling attacked, so let your employee vent. You might even learn something you didn’t know.
Create an Action Plan
At its heart, a performance review is an opportunity for you and your team member to have an open dialogue about the past and plan for the future. Be sure to ask employees what their career goals are and help them develop long-term strategies for meeting those goals.
Within the existing role, you should also work together on concrete steps to address the opportunities and challenges identified in the review. For example, you might pay for online leadership training or have the employee start shadowing someone in a different department.
Also, take the time to make sure each employee understands how the feedback and review cycle will work going forward. Communicate all important dates and how to access any relevant tools.
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