The words ‘performance review’ conjure up an image of a grim-faced judge picking at perceived flaws in employees’ performance. However, it’s easy to forget that although it’s uncomfortable to be on the receiving end of these reviews, it can be even more difficult for managers.
As a manager, you’ll have to conduct many reviews every year, and even dish out unpalatable feedback that might be received badly. This article is going to help you make your peace with performance reviews and get the most out of them.
It’s Not A One-Time Affair
A performance review is usually an annual meeting. The problem with this is that most managers only review the work that the employee has done in the few months leading up to the meeting. To accurately determine an employee’s performance, you will need to go further back. It would also be helpful to occasionally see what your employees are actually doing. Ask them questions, understand how they think, and take notes if you have to. That way you’ll have a lot more information to work with.
It’s also a great idea to schedule reviews 2-4 times a year. Employee appraisal is a continuous process, and managers must constantly observe and document their employees’ activity. This, coupled with periodical interaction with your employees, will help to build a strong employee-manager relationship, making the review process easier.
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Change It Up
Most performance reviews are held in a rigidly formal atmosphere. Why not change the setting? Use the company cafeteria or a quiet lobby that will facilitate open dialogue. If it’s possible to take notes after the meeting is over, then do so. As a manager, you need to make your employee as comfortable as possible, so that you can have an honest and constructive conversation. Not only does this ease the process, but you might also be able to gain valuable insights because of the relaxed setting.
Make Them One With The Company
If an employee doesn’t get a raise that they were expecting, don’t paint a picture where they are separate from the company. It’s critical that you remind the employee that they are an important part of the organization. That way, they feel no animosity towards the company and are more likely to take feedback constructively.
People like to feel a sense of belonging, and enjoy being a part of something larger than themselves. Your employees are no different. Letting them know that their efforts are being acknowledged and utilized by the entire company is the key to keeping them motivated. Employee motivation is part of the reason that performance reviews happen in the first place.
Give Slackers The Boot
How do you deal with employees who, year after year, show no signs of improving their performance? You let them go. This is not optional, but a necessity. Low performers can influence those performing moderately well, and might even demotivate your star performers.
You need to continuously monitor your employees, have multiple appraisals that are goal-driven, and frequently document their progress. This will provide you with enough evidence to present to low performers, and to fire them if they continue in the same vein. Their leaving also frees up resources that can now be put to better use.
Entirely doing away with performance reviews might be a relief to everyone involved, but the benefits of these meetings far outweigh their inconveniences. If used well, performance review meetings are a tool that can transform the entire company for the better.