Although performance reviews can vary widely in type and approach, they are a critical part of an employee-manager relationship. Performance reviews can be a great tool for employee motivation by helping them understand where they’re excelling and where there is room for improvement. Performance conversations with underperforming employees can be tough, but there are a number of things you can do to make sure those discussions are motivating and not deflating for the employee.
Regardless of whether an employee’s performance is great or not-so-good, the performance review conversation shouldn’t be the first time they’re hearing about it. Performance should be a regular conversation, as often as daily or weekly depending on the employee. The performance review should highlight points that have been previously discussed with an employee and it’s an opportunity to tell them how you’ve watched them improve or track towards goals.
Your employees should understand the structure for the performance review well in advance of the actual conversation. It’s important to share the evaluation criteria and how they are being assessed. This includes defining what constitutes exceptional performance vs. average performance vs. poor performance. You should also explain what you’re expecting the employee to bring to the conversation. If they are expected to complete a self-evaluation, share that format with them well in advance.
If you’re evaluating employees twice per year, for example, make sure to keep regular records of performance. Without those, you’ll have a hard time avoiding recency bias and your performance review will be coloured by recent events that may or may not reflect the employees’ overall performance.
Even if an employee is having some performance issues, try to keep the conversation time evenly split between positive feedback and constructive feedback to help them improve. When delivering negative feedback, it’s important to be direct and use specific examples. This can help the employee understand your concerns more clearly than non-specific feedback. For employees that are performing well, focus on how they can continue to excel and ways in which they can develop further professionally.
Near the end of the performance review, encourage your employee to share how you, as their manager, can help. You can ask questions like: What do you expect to be the most challenging for you this quarter?; What support can I provide to help you reach these goals?; How often would you like to receive feedback?; Is there more I can do to help you on a weekly basis?
The effectiveness of a performance review is largely a function of how you decide to approach the conversation. If you genuinely want to support and help your employee improve, the conversation will be much more effective. Your employee needs to trust that you support them and have confidence in their ability to improve in order to receive feedback and leave the conversation motivated.
Using the Sincron HR platform HR managers can customize online employee performance reviews then implement and track their success. In addition:
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