Performance reviews, although an important part of maintaining an optimum functioning business, are stressful, for both managers and employees. It’s unpleasant being under the spotlight, not knowing if you’ve done enough. And for managers, having to tell team members that they’re not meeting expectations is an equally hard task.
So, is there a better approach? One where performance reviews can be the impetus to motivate employees and encourage them in the work they do? Here are our top tips on creating positive performance reviews:
Plan for performance
This helps to set the expectations upfront so that employees are aware of the criteria that they will be evaluated on. Factored into this should be employee’s personal goals, ensuring that they align with the role that they are in as well as the organizational goals. Listening to your employees will provide insights on what’s important to them, what motivates them, and even how they view their own skills or place in the team. Having these conversations up front creates a better understanding on all sides as to expectations on performance. It also provides a point of reference to hold people accountable to.
Get to know your employees
It is much easier to give feedback when there is a strong relationship and understanding between a manager and their team members. People are more likely to view feedback in a constructive way if it is coming from someone they respect. Respect is built through genuine relationships and getting to know employees and what’s important to them. When people are in a role that fits their skills and provides them with a sense of purpose that aligns with their values they tend to be more productive. When they understand that performance reviews are part of the process to help them to find that sweet spot, they’ll be more likely to view them in a positive light.
Encourage regular communication
While performance appraisals may be linked to annual salary increases, only providing feedback on performance once a year is not giving employees much to go on. A lot can change in a year within an organization, within an industry and in an employee’s personal life. And all of that can impact their performance or the perception of their performance. Make an effort to have regular contact with team members, checking in with them to see if they’re coping with the work load or need further support in any aspect of their job. Most people are too nervous to ask for help fearing that it will make them appear to be less competent.
Provide mentoring opportunities
Mentoring has immense value in any organization. Aside from building better relationships within the organization it gives employees a sense of belonging and provides someone they can approach if they have queries or concerns. It is also a good way to keep more senior employees engaged, because when they share their knowledge, they too will feel more purposeful.
Employees are not the only ones who need organizational support, performance reviews can be stressful for managers too. Provide guidelines on how employees should be evaluated and train managers on how to provide feedback in a way that is positive and constructive. Performance reviews have the power to make or break an organization. Understanding the impact they can have on people and having the right planning and support in place, can ensure they are far more productive.