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8 Tips for Effective Employee Performance Reviews

Workplace Productivity, Business Articles

Make performance reviews productive, meaningful and motivating for everyone involved with these performance review tips.

Employee performance reviews are about more than ensuring staff are meeting the requirements of their job descriptions. These sessions are also about building rapport and loyalty with the company and ensuring employees are reaching their full potential. Not only is this good for the individuals concerned, it makes a workplace happier, healthier and more successful.

1. Preparation is key

Most businesses have an employee performance review template so all staff are being reviewed against the same criteria. In the spirit of openness, share this template with employees in advance so there are no surprises when the performance review meeting takes place. Managers should have a good idea going into the meeting about topics they’d like to discuss and future goals that make sense for the strategic direction of the team. Equally, employees should be encouraged to prepare in advance too, so they are ready to raise any points they would like to make.

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2. Two-way conversation

Look at performance reviews as a two-way process, where employees and managers both feel comfortable to have a conversation. Ensure staff members remain involved in the conversation throughout the meeting by asking open questions. These questions could include: ‘what support do you need to achieve your forthcoming tasks?’ and ‘how do you prefer to receive feedback on your work?’

3. 360-feedback

Performance reviews are about evaluating work already done as well as planning ahead. Asking other colleagues who have worked closely with an employee about their performance is a great way to ensure feedback captures an accurate picture of the staff member. It can also give useful insights into an individual’s performance that a manager isn’t always able to see for themselves in the day-to-day running of a business.

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4. Goal setting

Setting clear goals is a crucial element of employee performance reviews. This helps employees understand exactly what is expected of them. Discuss how these goals feed into the wider goals the company is striving for, as it is motivating for employees to see how their role tangibly contributes to the bigger picture.

5. Clear plans

Once overarching goals have been discussed, break these goals down into individual components to help clarify how an employee will successfully achieve them. Mapping out tasks and a timeline is a great way to help employees succeed.

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6. Evaluation

As important as clearly defining an employee’s goals is having an open conversation about how success will be evaluated. Whether it’s setting specific targets or delivering a project by an important deadline, make evaluation criteria as unambiguous as possible so employees know exactly what they are striving for. 

7. Ongoing contact

Employee performance reviews should be held regularly throughout the year for maximum results. Quarterly performance reviews with even more regular catch-ups in between help ensure issues can be raised and dealt with quickly, while employees aren’t left for too long wondering what is expected of them.

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8. Ask for help

Employee performance reviews offer a tremendous opportunity to provide feedback, which can include noting success and discussing areas that need improving. Handled correctly, even discussing areas of unsatisfactory performance can result in a motivating and fulfilling performance review session, as employees should leave with a plan of how they can succeed. If you don’t feel confident or well-practiced at handling employee performance reviews, ask for help. This could be from the HR department, who you could ask for tips or a practice performance review session. Or ask for a dedicated training session with a group of other managers.

Employee performance reviews form the backbone of a company’s prosperity. They keep track of progress while inspiring employees to play their part in the future success of a business. 

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