Performance Review Tips for Managers and Employees

May 10, 2017

Meeting yellow manager

Performance reviews are a vital part of any employee/manager relationship. Yet these annual appraisals seem to be dreaded by both parties. The philosophy behind reviews is to provide a fair and private space where employee performance can be discussed and improved upon. The following guidelines provide ways to change the perception of performance reviews from one of apprehension to one of open-mindedness.

Performance Review Tips for Managers

For managers, the key to giving a good performance review is to be fair, open-minded and encouraging. The aim is to help employees give their best and reach their peak performance, which is achieved best through positive, firm direction.

Managers should follow these four tips to conduct positive and productive reviews:

Discuss specific issues: Stay away from taking digs at the employee’s character. Evaluate performance in measurable terms rather than discussing attitude and attributes. Use clear, nonjudgmental language that focuses on behavior and avoids vagueness and blanket demands. If critiques are meant to be productive, they must be specific and actionable.

Reinforce performance standards and make a plan: By reminding employees of what you expect from their work, it is easy to point out errors without offending them. Be consistent with standards, so that all employees understand what is expected. It also helps to create a specific plan on how the employee can improve their work in the future. Offer your help in carrying out this plan and emphasize your faith in the employee’s potential to achieve.

Let employees contribute: It is important to treat the review as a two-way street. Begin by asking the employee to explain how they think they are doing and how they can improve, then talk about your own perspective. Letting the employee have a say in his or her appraisal process places accountability on the employee and gives them ownership of the results.

Balance positives and negatives: Conducting a performance review is similar to walking a tight rope: balance is everything. Withholding positive feedback demoralizes and discourages workers, while hesitating to point out problems prevents future improvement. Supervisors must take into account both the feelings of employees and the success of the company. Alternate between negative and positive statements where applicable. This way, supervisors can send the right message without coming across as unkind.

Performance Review Tips for Employees

For employees, the key to achieving a good performance review is keeping the review in mind all 52 weeks of the year. Good performance is an everyday task—one that can’t be made up a week before evaluations begin.

Here are three helpful tips for employees to keep in mind:

Toot your own horn: Treat the performance review like the first interview with the company. Bring documentation of any awards received, additional training completed and goals achieved. Show how you have helped the company grow and that you are a team player.

Speak up: Before the review, write down any questions you may have for your manager. Also, be sure to discuss concrete ways you have improved since your last review. Make a list of goals for the upcoming year and discuss them with your supervisor. Though sharing your thoughts and progress is vital, so is listening. Accept feedback—positive or negative.

Put in the effort: Being a good employee is an all-the-time job and requires effort all weeks of the year. Preparation for the next performance review should start as soon as this one is over.

The above tips and suggestions aren’t the only things that can help make performance reviews easier and more enjoyable: Paycor’s Perform HR provides a user-friendly interface for employees and supervisors to manage performance reviews, access employee files and foster open communication. See how we can help improve your employee management needs by starting a conversation with us today.

Sources: Business Management Daily, Inc.com, Chron.com, BC Jobs, Helium.com

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