You know you hate them and so do your employees! Yet instead of figuring out what can be done to make performance reviews a positive experience for both you and your employee, you ignore the problem. Many small companies don’t even do performance reviews. 

But if you have historically done performance reviews, what can you do differently that will make performance reviews more impactful and positive? Here are the steps that you need to take that if done in a consistent manner can revolutionize the performance of employees in your company.

  1. Change your mindset- Most performance reviews are an annual event. As a leader, performance feedback on a consistent basis is what can alter behaviors and performance, not annual reviews.  When managers can effectively coach and have honest conversations with employees, performance is improved. 
  2. Partner with the employee- A performance review is about the employee, not you. Let them create their own goals to provide ownership and complete commitment. Regularly update goals on a quarterly basis. Give them the opportunity to self-assess their performance by identifying what they accomplished and where they think they need development for future success. You will find that your high performers are often harder on themselves than you would be.
  3. Focus on the important- You’ve seen them before, the multipage review that seems to go on and on.  How on earth can an employee absorb and remember all this information in a one-hour sit down meeting?  The answer is they can’t. Develop a one-page review that highlights the most important aspects of their performance and development needs.
  4. Include others-Today’s work environment is much more dependent on teamwork than 30 years ago. Integrating feedback from peers and other leaders who worked with an employee is an important component to a performance review. The additional input decreases bias in the review and the perception by an employee is that the review is more accurate.
  5. Don’t discuss money-Decouple the performance review with the discussion of pay. When you combine the conversation of performance with the anticipation of more money, the employee will remember little of the conversation except the amount of additional money they will be receiving in their paycheck. You want them focused on their accomplishments and future development.

Bottom line is that performance reviews can be effective if there is ongoing coaching and development, and input comes from not just you but the employee, her peers, and other leaders who have had the opportunity to work with her.