Say Goodbye to Ineffective Performance Reviews with These Expert Tips
Updated: Mar 29
You're not alone. A recent McKinsey survey revealed that most CEOs are dissatisfied with their company's appraisal process as it fails to identify top performers. Additionally, over half of employees think their managers don't get the review right. A Gallup study is even more negative, with only one in five employees agreeing that their company's performance practices motivate them.
Performance appraisals are a vital aspect of managing a team, yet they're often viewed as demotivating and time-consuming. However, by following some best practices, managers can improve the performance review process and create a culture of high performance within their teams.
Before the review, managers should take a few key steps to ensure the process is as effective as possible. First, managers should clarify the standards and expectations for the job, including ethical standards, to ensure the employee understands what is expected of them. This may involve aligning unit goals with company strategy to ensure employees are working towards the same objectives.
Second, managers should make sure they have enough time on their calendar to conduct a thorough review. Rushing through the process can leave employees feeling undervalued and confused about their performance. It's also important for managers to pay attention to employee behavior throughout the year, so they have specific examples to discuss during the review.
Third, during the review, managers should provide feedback about the causes of the employee's performance. This could involve assessing whether performance issues are due to a lack of motivation or ability, and whether training or coaching could enhance the employee's capabilities. It may also involve considering whether the employee is in the right job, and whether a different role or performance improvement plan could help.
To make the performance review conversation as productive as possible, managers should follow these five steps:
Begin by conveying your positive intent.
Let the employee know that the review is aimed at increasing their effectiveness and helping them to develop their skills. This sets a positive tone for the conversation and helps the employee feel valued.
Provide specific feedback.
Use specific examples to illustrate the employee's strengths and areas for improvement. Avoid generalizations and be as specific as possible. This helps the employee understand what they need to do differently to improve.
Encourage employee participation.
Ask the employee to share their perspective on their performance and their ideas for improvement. This encourages a two-way conversation and helps the employee feel involved in the process.
Agree on action steps.
Together with the employee, identify specific actions they can take to improve their performance. These should be specific, measurable, and time-bound. This helps the employee understand what they need to do to improve, and creates accountability for follow-through.
Follow up regularly.
Don't wait until the next performance review to check in on the employee's progress. Schedule regular check-ins to see how they're doing, offer feedback and support, and make adjustments as necessary.
By following these best practices, managers can conduct effective performance reviews that lead to higher employee performance and a more productive workplace.