Annual performance reviews are typically viewed as a dreaded business activity and for good reason. When employee performance is evaluated and discussed just once a year, a lot of things can go wrong. However the performance review discussion can be a powerful tool in building the employee-manager relationship when it is part of a continuous performance management strategy.
The preparation and logistics for conducting a successful performance review discussion are important (Read 7 Steps to Becoming a Performance Appraisal Process Rock Star). However, there are several important components that can transform the dreaded performance review discussion into something to which everyone on your team will look forward.
Constructive Feedback Works!
Employees want to receive feedback that can help them improve performance. In a recent article by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folman, the authors draw the conclusion that most managers do not like to provide critical or constructive feedback, but most people want to receive it. Managers should provide performance feedback on a regular basis to ensure employees feel recognized, understand expectations and can make changes that will result in continued success. Performance reviews provide the perfect time for managers to provide performance feedback and commit to offering regular feedback and coaching.
There are, however, a variety of reasons why managers shy away from providing negative feedback. In order to build a relationship with employees that results in a motivated, high performing team, managers must take action to continuously build their skills in providing feedback. The article, Awesome Performance Feedback in Employee Performance Management, offers helpful strategies for getting over feedback "fears" and building feedback into everyday leadership activity.
Linkage to Organizational Success
The performance review discussion is also the perfect time for the manager to discuss the company’s progress, accomplishments, future strategic direction and highlight how the employee's skills have facilitated those accomplishments. Managers have a direct impact on how connected employees feel to the success of the organization, and the performance review is the perfect opportunity to link your employees to organizational performance - helping them feel valued and connected to the organization.
Development for the Future
Performance reviews help managers communicate the importance of ongoing development, learn their employee's career goals, and reinforce their support for them to reach those goals. A good portion of the performance review discussion should focus on development for future, whether the employee is struggling in their role or they are a high performer.
Employees that are new to their role or are struggling are looking for guidance and direction on the specific things they need to do to be successful. The performance review discussion offers managers the perfect opportunity to collaborate with employees for success. The focus should be on how joint success will be achieved going forward.
For managers, it's important to keep high performers engaged and challenged. Review discussions can focus on identifying increasingly varied and “stretch” assignments that interest rising stars, as well as give them insight into their career path within the company. Click here to read more tips for conducting performance reviews with high performers.
viaPeople's Performance Management System provides tools to managers that will make performance reviews easier and facilitate ongoing feedback discussions between managers and employees. Using a system like the one offered by viaPeople, with features such as quarterly and mid-year reviews, goal tracking and goal management, the dread can be turned into collaboration between employees and managers.