Performance reviews are often dreaded by employees and managers alike. A bare-bones look into your team’s performance is bound to show some areas that you as a manager can improve upon.
Modern-day performance evaluations are less scary, focusing more on achieving company goals rather than pointing out errors. Performance reviews these days are often informal back-and-forth affairs between individual team members and managers. Nowadays, feedback is more constructive and based on how improvement can take place. Some companies even conduct performance evaluations weekly or daily.
Either way, performance evaluations help with appraisals, goal-setting, understanding development requirements, and helping set the path for employee careers.
What does a successful performance review look like?
There are numerous types of performance reviews, broadly classified as:
- 360° Feedback
- Behavioral Checklist
- Management By Objectives
- Rating Scale
- Peer Review
- Upward Feedback
- Team Performance Reviews
- Annual Performance Reviews
- Bi-annual performance Reviews
- Quarterly Performance Reviews
- Monthly Performance Reviews
- Weekly or Half-Month Reviews
Let’s take a look at what a performance review should look like:
There is no point in having your employee come in blind. Before the performance review meeting, ensure you let your employee know what the meeting is about, what will be discussed, and where they stand.
This gives them time to prepare, come in with a clear understanding, and allows for a more productive conversation. Take the time to share all the discussion points for the meeting. Your people should not fret about performance reviews.
Your employees must get used to discussing their performance. It must become a part of your organization’s culture to talk about how each individual can work on improving and informing each individual of how well they are doing through regular meetings, both formal and informal.
Give and Take
Managers must remember that these performance evaluation reviews aren’t lectures but rather back-and-forth discussions where managers can understand how a good performer is achieving their targets and find improvement areas in others. These learnings can then be further investigated and implemented on a wider scale.
Employees can understand why they aren’t performing according to company expectations, and managers can guide them with positive feedback, help them stay engaged, and motivate them to keep doing better.
This conversation between managers and employees should be considered a learning point for both parties and the company.
A manager’s feedback should be fact-based, data-driven, and based on verified sources. Talk about issues that have been noticed, fortify positive behavior with praise, and discuss progress; both parties should be encouraged to take actionable notes. Your feedback must be objective.
While performance reviews are based on what has been done in the past quarter or year, the discussion should be about what will change, how these changes will impact the company and the employee, and future expectations.
10 performance evaluation checklist must-haves and tips
Here is a handy checklist for managers who are getting ready to conduct a performance review, face-to-face or otherwise:
Do your due diligence
Carry out your research, make sure you have all the facts, and be prepared for the meeting. There are few things as demotivating as a manager who is not well-prepared for a performance appraisal meeting.
Prepare a list of discussion points and objective questions. Ensure you are also updated on their engagement survey responses and review notes from previous meetings. If you are a new manager, ensure you get hand-over notes of the prior manager. Understand where they stand in terms of their performance review ratings and feedback. Take some time to go through their growth plan as well.
Inform your team members
Once you have slotted a meeting time, let your team members know. Let them know what the meeting is about and what will be discussed. You may want to share discussion points and their review details so that your team member can come prepared for the meeting.
Run through achievements, success, and overall performance
Praise them for what they have done well and be sincere about giving them compliments on areas they have performed up to or above expectations. Reflect on their overall performance.
Ask employees to complete a self-evaluation before the performance review meeting
It is a good idea to gauge where employees think they stand. Not only does a self-evaluation help you understand what employees think of their performance, but it also lets you know if their performance evaluations have been communicated to them in the past.
The data you collect from self-evaluations also ensure your evaluation is more effective. Make sure you tweak your performance review approach based on the information you learn from the employee’s self-evaluation.
Set aside a specific time for the meeting and be fully present
Performance reviews often tie into employees’ appraisals and define their careers. Make sure you set aside enough time for the meeting, block your schedule in advance, and ensure the employee is informed of the time the meeting will take place. Most importantly, focus on your employee; don’t be distracted and busy with other work, which can be very demotivating.
Listen to what they have to say
This meeting is about your team members; listen to what they say sincerely. Remember, as a manager, you may have many reviews to cross off your list, but this one review is critical to your employee.
Managers often conduct multiple reviews in a short period; make sure you take notes about what the employee says. Once you complete all the performance reviews for your team, you can use that data to see how many commonalities there are.
Some companies have evaluation forms that need to be filled out. Crucially, if there are areas that aren’t on the form, take the time to write that information down too. You may want to add those areas in the updated evaluation form.
Give your employees information they can use, data they can use, and strategies to help them keep improving. Let them know exactly what you and the company expect from you. Ensure your tone is positive, provide constructive feedback, and focus on solving the issues at hand. Let your employee know what they will gain from performing better, identify their area of growth, and let them know what opportunities lay ahead.
Share your evaluation form
Make sure that you are transparent about the meeting. Share the evaluation form, or, if you don’t have one, share the meeting notes. These pointers will act as a guide for your employee and be helpful for the subsequent performance evaluation.
Close on future-oriented plans
Set goals and create an action plan for your employee. At the end of the meeting, run through what you both discussed and talk about what you will do with the feedback the employee provided. Explain what you expect from the employee and set a time and date to work on employee career and growth plans.
In addition to these ten vital points, ensure you let your team member know when the subsequent evaluation will be. Regular performance evaluation discussions are crucial to performance being improved.
Tips on dealing with a team member that didn’t do well
- Be honest
- Be objective
- Be clear on what is expected of them
- Be patient
- Choose your words carefully
- Take time to make sure your point is driven home
- Listen to why they think they have not been able to meet performance expectations
- Make sure that there aren’t any oversights from your side
- Ask them what you can do to help
- Let them know it’s okay, that there is room for improvement for everyone
- Work with them to set short-term improvement action plans
- Check in with them regularly
- Let them know that your job is to help them achieve their goals and that you are willing to do what it takes to help them get there
Make sure to have frequent, two-way performance discussions and stay future-focused
Performance reviews can be tough on both employees and managers. It is no secret that keeping track of individual performance and aligning it with company goals is quite a task. Managers should be equipped with the right tools to do their jobs effectively.
With Mesh, you can view employee information on a dashboard and understand precisely where they stand. You can maintain regular conversation about performance; most importantly, employees will always have a clear idea of where they stand and what you expect.