Do's and Don'ts of Performance Reviews
Most companies expect their managers to give their employees a performance review once a year. However, research by Gallup shows that only 14 percent of employees strongly agreed they were inspired to improve by their performance reviews. So how can you offer feedback in a constructive and inspiring manner? Keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind:
- Don’t forget to define objectives and expectations. In her article “A First-Time Manager’s Guide to Performance Reviews” for The Muse, Amy Adams advises setting SMART — specific, measurable, achievable, results-oriented, and time-bound — objectives at the beginning of the year. That way, your employees know what’s expected of them and can work towards it.
- Do encourage your team to set their own individual goals. Your team members should have a good idea of what they need to learn and accomplish in order to meet your expectations. Empower them to break projects down into smaller goals so they can be sure they’re progressing.
- Don’t only give feedback once a year. One survey described in Andrew Martins’ Business News Daily article titled “Employees Are More Likely to Consider Quitting After and ‘Unfair’ Performance Review” stated that over 90 percent of respondents would like to receive feedback more than once every 12 months. If you provide feedback on a more frequent basis, nobody will be blindsided by what you have to say. Plus, they’ll be able to work on improvements as soon as it’s clear they’re needed.
- Don’t omit to prepare properly ahead of time. To provide solid feedback, you need to know what your employees have been doing over the past time period — and what the quality of their work is. Ideally, you should keep tabs on their progress during the year by making notes of what’s done well, what has been accomplished, and what needs more work.
- Do ask other team members for feedback. In the article “10 Key Tips for Effective Employee Performance Reviews” for The Balance Careers, Susan M. Heathfield advises that it’s important to talk to team members who work with a specific employee. This can help you obtain a better view of his or her overall performance.
- Don’t give unfounded feedback. Everything you state should be backed up by facts. For example, if you say an employee wrote a good report but needs to work on his or her time management skills, point out that the report was delivered a day after the original deadline. Similarly, if you have positive feedback, state exactly what the employee did well.
As a manager, it’s your responsibility to help your employees grow. By knowing what to do — and what not to do — during a performance review, you can provide constructive feedback that will empower your people to consistently improve and advance.