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Painless Performance Reviews

Across the board, performance reviews are generally greeted with dread. Employees approach the inevitable process with a sense of impending doom, while managers and HR professionals get stressed out over prepping for the evaluation. When it comes to performance review time, neither party need feel uncomfortable – if the process is approached properly.

For performance reviews to be viewed as a positive experience, something to look forward to, a company must build a culture in which they are looked upon as an opportunity to look back at past successes and set the stage for future progress.

Here are some tips for making your performance review process as painless as possible:

1) Be Prepared – While a good manager knows his employees’ performance inside and out, it is never advisable to go into an evaluation without proper documentation. Whether you are praising an employee for their accomplishments or discussing their short-comings, make sure you have such items documented and can easily refer to the record during the review. Don’t attempt to rely on your memory, no matter how good you think it is. You are bound to forget a fair number of things that happened over the past year.

2) Be Positive – All too often, performance reviews are focused on “areas for improvement”.  In other words, “Here are all the things you are not doing right.” As a result, employees end up feeling criticized, picked on, and demoralized. Instead of making the performance review all about an employee’s short-comings, endeavor to focus on their achievements. Granted, you still need to provide constructive criticism, but only do so after you’ve given the employee something to feel proud about – and then approach the matter in a positive, helpful manner.

3) Don’t Pull Any Punches – An employee is bound to feel ambushed if the performance review is the first time they’ve heard about areas where the employer has felt disappointed. Be sure to discuss the employee’s performance frequently throughout the year so topics of discussion won’t come as a huge surprise.

4) Dialogue with the Employee – One of the best ways to cultivate painless performance reviews is to make them a two-way conversation. If you spend the entire time talking to the employee and never pause to elicit their input, they will feel as if they have just sat through a lecture. Rather, encourage employees to share their thoughts, to respond to your comments, and to offer their suggestions when it comes time to set goals for the coming year. You may wish to give them a list of key questions in advance so they come to the evaluation prepared.

For more information on performance evaluations and other employment-related matters, contact High Profile Staffing today.