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10 Tips for Performance Reviews

Performance reviews can be daunting for both parties. This shouldn’t be the case. A great performance review is two-way, constructive and honest.

Here are 10 tips for effective performance reviews:

1. Discuss positive/negative examples
During a performance review, you should be documenting and referencing positive and negative events. It is important to remember that recent events can sometimes cloud judgement. Take a step back and review the overall period.                                                                  

2. Collect feedback from peers
Get feedback from the employee’s peers. They’ll likely to have picked up on events that you haven’t, and be able to offer some valuable insight into how the employee is behaving and working.

3. Look for patterns
Prepare for the performance review by identifying patterns. Give lots of examples to an employee, and they’ll be able to better understand what is working well and what areas development opportunities lie.

4. Be mindful and empathic
It takes time for employees to process negative feedback. If the performance review is overwhelmingly negative, you can expect strong emotions from the employee including panic and denial. Be wary of this.

5. Reduce surprises
It is important that you are in constant communication with your employees in the workplace. Positive or negative feedback should never be a surprise to an employee, make sure you are communicating feedback throughout normal working hours.

6. Set clear, specific goals
It is important you ensure the employee knows what is expected from him/her. The best way to do this is to describe exactly what you’re looking for from them and how exactly you will evaluate performance. Make sure the employee knows what steps they need to take to reach their goal.

7. Keep communication direct
One of the most important elements of a performance review is being direct. Ensure that you and the employee are asking questions such as:
- What do you find challenging in the workplace?
- What support do you require to overcome these challenges?
- What do you expect will be challenging in the future?

8. Keep a generally positive atmosphere

Where possible, spend more time on positive aspects of the employee’s performance rather than the negative. They employee will find this approach more motivating, they will be less defensive towards negative feedback and it will encourage them to discuss any problems with you in the future.

9. Encourage self-assessment
Encouraging self-assessment will help the employee honestly evaluate their performance. It will give you a clear picture of how responsible they are and how accountable they are for their mistakes. One powerful way of assessing an employee’s accountability is to ask them if they think there are any aspects of their work that they could have improved on and if they say there are then ask them what they could have done better. If they are unable to tell you, offer a possible solution and ask the employees opinion on it.

10. Create an action plan
Every meeting should have an outcome, an action plan, objectives set and a timescale. Ensuring these are in place will help achieve goals and track progress.

WORKPLACEone’s Personal Development module is ideal for performance reviews, allowing managers and HR to conduct peer and 360 reviews digitally, as well as track individual employee progress.