Performance review tips for managers

Each year about this time employees participate in a Performance Review with their manager. The review is intended to provide the employee with feedback regarding their prior year’s performance against objectives. For many employees, the performance review is a conversation they dread. The main reason for this is that the employees’ expectations for the meeting are not met by their manager. Surprisingly, a large majority of managers are not well skilled nor are they comfortable with giving feedback and having effective performance discussions. This can have a significant impact on employee engagement and morale.

Use these tips to make the discussion as valuable as possible.

Be well prepared –managers should review notes from previous performance reviews and discussions, stakeholder feedback and employee self-assessments. Be prepared to provide specific examples regarding the employee’s work activities.

Keep it private and positive – host the discussion in a quiet, private and comfortable environment.  Keep a positive tone throughout the conversation using good eye contact and body language.

Make it a two-way conversation – focus on making the conversation interactive and ask for the employee’s feedback. Manager’s should not do all of the talking.

Focus on strengths and identify areas of growth and opportunity– research has shown that employees are more likely to improve in their areas of strengths. Focus 80% of the discussion on strengths and 20% on growth areas. Pick one or two areas that the employee can develop. Then, seek agreement from the employee.

Offer support and agree upon next steps – the employee needs your support and guidance. Ask them how you can help them be successful. Plan a follow up meeting for 2-3 weeks later and discuss implementation and execution in the upcoming year.

Performance reviews don’t have to be dreaded or difficult. You can make it a positive experience for both you and the employee by planning ahead and being prepared.

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