A good employee performance review is as much about listening as it is presenting an overview and commentary on employee performance. Feedback is key when rewarding an employee or finding the best solution to training or performance gaps. Use open-ended questions to elicit feedback, maintain eye contact and include positive language when referring to future goals, expectations as well as setting the stage for training and development concerns.
Use open-ended questions to the employee about her role, work environment, position requirements, expectations and stated goals. If issues are identified in performance or training, ask such questions as, “What are some ideas on how we can help you?” or “What steps can we take from here to help you?”. These questions reduce the chance for conflict and foster an atmosphere of cooperation. Let employees speak without interruption to further this atmosphere.
It is critical to remain positive even when employee performance issues are brought to light. Employee strengths can be addressed first to lessen potential impact of performance critiques. Compliment a specific area where a related employee strength is evident and can be documented, then proceed to offer suggestions on the second performance area that needs improvement. If an employee in accounts billing processes a high number of invoices, but also has a high error rate, mention that his speed is appreciated, but more attention to detail is needed.
State specific goals, expectations and targets to get the employee back on track. An employee performance appraisal should always look forward to enhancing employee training and achieving higher performance levels. Communicate incremental goals that will bring employee performance back up to acceptable levels. Communicate this in a way to achieve employee acceptance. An example would be “John, let’s not worry about the number of invoices you complete next month, instead let’s work on the accuracy of the ones we send. Would that help?”
Offer Training and Development
Employees that meet performance standards, as well as those who have performance gaps can benefit from training. The suggestion for training should be presented in a constructive way regardless of the circumstances. Emphasize that in order for the employee to grow and take on additional responsibility she would benefit from some additional training. Offer alternatives to the employee that benefit both the employee and the organization, such as, “Jane, would you rather attend the company training class on invoicing, or sit with one of us for a few individual meetings?”
II. Useful materials for effective performance review phrases