Careful Planning Can Keep the Stress Out of Year-End Performance Reviews

Managers and employees both have plenty of challenges when it comes to performance reviews.  For managers, the review process can be time-consuming, tedious and difficult.  Some find it arduous having to sum up the qualities and achievements of a diverse talent pool into a predefined rating system.  From the employee’s perspective, performance reviews often seem like an opportunity for managers to lavish praise on “favorites,” which can lower the morale of the rest of the department.

Still, performance reviews are important for planning and accountability, and most organizations rely on them for some level of decision making when it comes to merit increases, bonuses, promotions, and planning lay-offs.  Review time, however, should never be the first time that an employee hears about good or poor performance.  Performance feedback should be a part of regular communication between managers and employees in regular one-on-one meetings throughout the year.

Set Expectations
Effective reviews start with setting expectations.  Reviews should be conducted consistently on an established schedule so employees know when to expect a review and both parties can prepare for the review.  The schedule should include time for managers to read peer- and self-reviews before meeting with the employee.  In order for ancillary reviews to bring value to the process, they must be viewed with respect by all parties.

Communication Is Key
Communication and training about the review process is also important.  It can relieve stress and bring transparency, which fosters trust.  Pre-review communication for managers and employees should include:

  • Articulation of the company’s goals and how an individual’s performance goals support them.
  • An explanation of the grading scale and how it translates to merit pay increases and bonuses, if applicable.
  • Training on performance review best practices for managers.
  • Training for employees on how to prepare for and participate in a performance review.

Performance review best practices for managers should include:

  • Guidance on giving specific and constructive criticism.
  • Suggestions on how to effectively communicate goals.
  • Tactics to draw out an employee’s perspective, including asking open-ended questions.
  • Advice on pacing reviews in order to keep them current and avoid having one negative review impact other reviews that follow.

A successful performance review should end with a development plan to help an employee reach next year’s goals.  If you would like support and assistance from Oasis in planning your annual review process, give us a call to schedule your Free Consultation, 866.709.9401.

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