Review Time? 6 Tips for Managers
However, this can be a stressful time for many employees and managers. Here are some tips I have shared with team leaders and managers at Affinity Express, that might help you too, to ensure that your performance review process is less stressful and more effective for you and your team.
1. Work a clear structure.
I've known managers who didn't bother to get in a formal review meeting but just passed the assessment document on to their team member: don't be that manager. Even if the employee sits right next to you and you talk to each other all day and have lunch together, schedule a dedicated review meeting. Allow sufficient time for the review discussion and cover all critical areas.
2. Focus on performance not personality.
It's difficult to work with someone you don't like, whose habit of tapping loudly on the desk with her pen irritates you no end. When you are reviewing her, forget all that and concentrate on what she actually got done.
Evaluate how well she performed her job responsibilities and compare with the objectives you had set out for her (you had, hadn't you?) at the beginning of the review period. Discuss strengths and areas in need of improvement.
3. Be specific and discuss results.
Don't get drawn into discussions on how many hours the employee put in and how much sick time they took. Stick to specific results, such as sales numbers, new contracts, client feedback, productivity increases and error rates.
4. Ask questions.
Establish a dialog since good review sessions are two-way conversations. Ask your employee how you can help them do a better job. If he is a star performer, ask him how you can help him grow. If she isn't doing well, ask her if she needs training or guidance. Don't wait for them to come to you with their problems.
5. Serve as a coach.
Continuous learning is a big motivator for most people, especially creative, driven employees (which are the kind you have, right?). So take the time to help them improve. Be their coach. See if the company offers training they can take advantage of. Have informal group sharing sessions where you can all learn from one another.
6. Close positively with a plan
Whether the evaluation is overwhelmingly positive or covered with thorns, end by setting out a plan for the future. Communicate clearly what you expect and by when, and what the probably consequences are.
And remember, these same tips work in reverse when you're the one getting reviewed. Plan out what you want to say in advance, focus on the results you achieved, ask how you can do better, ask for more training (even if you don't get it, it makes you look proactive), and work out a future plan before ending the meeting.
Best of luck!