This is part two of a two-part blog series on performance reviews. To see the first post, The Problem with Performance Reviews, please click here.
One thing to make sure you do is to provide employees with self reviews to complete prior to meeting with their manager. This will allow them to come into the meeting knowing what to expect, and prepared to discuss what will be covered. Typically employees dread this process, as many people hate to review themselves, but it’s necessary for them to self-reflect prior to discussing performance with their manager. Going along with this, it is vital for the manager to prepare for each review, and plan out topics that need to be discussed.
Next, you will set aside a specific time to meet with them and run through both the manager review and self-review. Setting up a specific time and place for the meeting is necessary, and having quick, on the fly meetings for reviews is not productive. During the meeting each side will talk about their reviews, and look at areas of agreement and discrepancy.
Finally (and most importantly), the pair will go through future plans and pathways to success. It is important to talk about goals and priorities for improvement from that moment on, along with career ambitions. Along with setting goals, it is imperative that managers follow up on goals set during performance reviews and check in to ensure employees are on track and have the resources required to achieve their goals.
Another thing to improve ongoing performance management is to ensure employees are regularly getting recognition for their achievements and outstanding performance. Even the occasional pat on the back or “thank you for being so diligent with that project” can go a long way to improving employee morale and performance. It is also important to recognize when employees are doing the work of multiple people, and give them credit for that. If employees feel they are not being recognized for the time and effort they give to their company (especially when it is above and beyond their original job description), they will be less likely to continue that behavior in the future.
One final important part of performance reviews (and often the most challenging) is to be completely truthful with employees during the review. Some managers struggle with giving negative feedback (even when true), while others are ready to rip employees apart without good reason. Providing honest feedback (both positive and negative) will allow employees to think about where they are doing well, and where they can improve. People are typically able to handle negative feedback if they feel it is warranted, even in large amounts. Though it may be uncomfortable during the review, if people are aware of their problem areas and given goals and processes for improving them, they will only grow into better employees.
As long as both the manager and employee spend time reflecting on performance and goals prior the meeting, and are honest during the discussion, the process is likely to improve. Though performance reviews are typically a once or twice a year process, successful performance management is an ongoing process for both sides. The best managers provide appropriate and ongoing recognition, along with follow-up on goals and achievements to their employees.
Had one too many bad reviews? Next time you hire, condsider conducting reference checks on the final candidates.