As the leader of a business or a department, you have many different responsibilities to handle every year. One thing you need to find time to schedule in is some performance reviews.
While you may shy away from these activities if you’ve never conducted them before and don’t like having hard conversations, such discussions are beneficial not just for you as a manager and for your organization but also for employees themselves.
This is, of course, dependent on you conducting performance reviews in a positive, productive way. You need to follow a few tips to get the most out of these annual or quarterly occasions.
3 Tips For Conducting Productive Performance Reviews
1. Open Your Ears
One of the main elements of effective performance management techniques is opening one’s ears, not just one’s mouth. That is, when dealing with your team, try to spend just as much time listening to them and taking on board their thoughts, opinions, concerns, and the like as you do conveying your own feelings and thoughts.
While a performance review is a chance for you to let staff members know what they’re doing well and what needs some improvement, it’s crucial to let them have an opportunity to give you their perspective, too. Enable personnel to let you know why they might have been struggling in some areas, for instance.
These insights might clue you into the fact that your workers haven’t received adequate resources or that a straightforward tweak could increase productivity significantly.
2. Ask For Feedback
You should also ask your team for feedback in the reviews and sit back and listen to what they have to say. Be curious and open to hearing what has been frustrating them in their roles and workplace over the previous months and what kind of support they’re looking for.
You could find out there’s more of a gossip or other corporate culture issue than you realized that could be stemming from the top, or people might be feeling exhausted due to having to continually work a lot of overtime because some people in the team aren’t pulling their weight.
Also, it’s helpful to ask employees how they find the performance reviews. See if there are questions people are hoping they’ll get asked that never come up or if there’s some way of doing things you’re utilizing that makes the whole experience too stressful or overwhelming for staff members.
For instance, do you spring reviews on people at the last minute or insinuate that raises or promotions are dependent on favorable reviews? Do you say or do other things that cause more stress than necessary?
3. Spend Time Preparing
Workers can tell if you’re not prepared for a performance review, and they will likely be angry, upset, or otherwise unsatisfied at your lack of commitment in this area. Spend the time planning and preparing for these meetings to understand precisely what role someone does in the company, how long they’ve worked in the team, what goals or areas of improvement were discussed in the last review, and more.
Also, get together statistics or other data that will help you adequately demonstrate the issues you want to bring up on the day or commend people for regarding their efforts and results. It’s essential to utilize specific examples in performance reviews rather than vague generalizations that can confuse employees and cause more harm than good.
For instance, if you want to mention that a salesperson has been underperforming lately, show the numbers that indicate prior results and current figures, plus potentially some information about the performance of other people in the team and how they might be bringing in more sales by following a set process, etc.
4. Provide Actionable Feedback
Another tip is to ensure that anything you want to bring up as an area for a team member to work on should be backed up with some actionable steps for changes you want to see. There’s no point letting people know you’re unhappy about something if you don’t also give them a good understanding of what you specifically need them to do to improve things for the following review.
For instance, regarding the underperforming salesperson mentioned above, you could ask them to increase the number of cold calls or emails they make or leads they follow up on by a certain percentage, or you could request that people visit clients in person once or twice more per month or quarter.
When conducting performance reviews, don’t go too long in between such discussions, set and share goals and expectations for the coming months, and follow up later to see what improvements have been made.
Employee evaluations can seem like a daunting project to complete at first, but the time and effort you invest into these tasks can pay off considerable dividends in the long term.
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Author: Anees Saddique