A professional performance review is essential not just for the effective operation of a business; it is also important for the continuous dialogue between managers and employees. The primary goal of a performance review is for the manager and the employee to come to an understanding of the job responsibilities and the expected performance followed by an assessment of this performance. Reviews should encourage employees to improve performance and show that managers are able to work effectively with the employees.
- Prepare for the performance review; record commendable performances and poor performances of the employee over a specific period of time (quarterly, for example). Observe the employee, talk to his supervisor and keep a file to track performance. Bring these performance records to the actual review session.
- Meet in a conducive location such as a quiet lobby to facilitate a professional review but also to ease both you and the employee. Begin the conversation by informing the employee what the session will entail; for example: “We are here to review your achievements of this past quarter and to address areas that need improvement.”
- Use the performance record to review the employee’s performance. State the job description and accompanying responsibilities. Progress to achievements and focus on the value of the employee more than the task that he performed. For example: “You were a great asset to the team during the organization of the community service project.”
- Offer constructive criticism when you state the areas of the employee’s performance that need improvement. Focus on skills or competencies and not on the personality of the employee. Encourage the employee to come up with solutions to the poor performance by making inquiries such as: “I can see the effort you have made but it is still not up to standards. What would you have done differently in this task?” Note the responses on the performance review form.
- Set goals for the coming quarter, before the next performance review. Focus on a few and specific areas that need improvement. Present the goals as tentative goals rather than firm goals restricted by time limits. For example: “You will be able to enhance your time management skills if you reply to emails in the mornings only.” Note the goals on the performance review form.
- Allow the employee’s input before finalizing the performance review session. Ask the employee what concerns he has and what his views are about the performance review session. Do this, for example, by stating: “I welcome any input, questions or comments about your work and the review session we have had.” Listen without interrupting and note the facts of the employee’s responses. Let the employee sign the performance review form and you do the same.