As we head into the end of the year, many companies are in the midst of or gearing up for their annual performance review process. A well-written and thoughtful performance review can do wonders in terms of motivating an employee to succeed within their current role and grow professionally. Ultimately, when your employees are successful, you are successful (and vice versa!). Show your employees that you genuinely care about not only their job performance for today, but also their career development for tomorrow. Your employees will appreciate you taking the time to focus on them. To help make writing your employees’ reviews easier, implement the following approach:
- Keep Track of Successes and Areas for Development…All Year
Keep notes on your employee’s performance throughout the year to provide a quick reference at review time. This can be as simple as keeping a spreadsheet or even just writing briefly in a journal – keep it simple! Remember to include specifics such as projects the employee was a part of and what successes or areas for development you witnessed.
- Review Your Performance Evaluation Process
Review the performance evaluation form including the competencies you will be asked to rate. Know the due dates for completion of the written appraisal as well as the one-on-one meeting. This will allow you to set a realistic timeline for yourself and reduce the stress often associated with the “last minute scramble” to complete the review.
- Use Comments with Specific Examples – Not Just a Numerical Rating
Performance reviews often ask managers for both a numerical rating and comments for a specific competency. If you have several employees, you may be tempted to take the easy route and just provide a numerical rating, skipping the comments. Using specific examples to reinforce your numerical rating will help tremendously when you are conducting the one-on-one meeting — especially, when your employee wants specifics on why she received that rating!
- Provide Honest Feedback – The Good and the Not-So-Good
We often struggle with addressing poor performance. If you do not address or gloss over areas where your employee has underperformed, you can expect to see the same results over and over again. It is best to approach performance issues directly. This is another reason why using specific examples can really drive home your feedback to the employee.
- No Surprises
An employee should not be blindsided by negative feedback on his performance review. The best way to avoid these types of awkward situations is to maintain continuous feedback throughout the year. The performance review should not be the first time an employee is learning there are areas on which he needs to improve.
Adopting these strategies will save you time, energy and make the performance review process (believe it or not) enjoyable!