Performance reviews are a vital part of any employee/manager
relationship. Yet these annual appraisals seem to be dreaded by both
parties. The philosophy behind reviews is to provide a fair and private
space where employee performance can be discussed and improved upon. The
following guidelines provide ways to change the perception of
performance reviews from one of apprehension to one of open-mindedness.
Performance Review Tips for Managers
For managers, the key to giving a good performance review is to be fair,
open-minded and encouraging. The aim is to help employees give their
best and reach their peak performance, which is achieved best through
positive, firm direction.
Managers should follow these four tips to conduct positive and
Discuss specific issues: Stay away from taking digs at the
employee’s character. Evaluate performance in measurable terms rather
than discussing attitude and attributes. Use clear, nonjudgmental
language that focuses on behavior and avoids vagueness and blanket
demands. If critiques are meant to be productive, they must be specific
Reinforce performance standards and make a plan: By reminding
employees of what you expect from their work, it is easy to point out
errors without offending them. Be consistent with standards, so that all
employees understand what is expected. It also helps to create a
specific plan on how the employee can improve their work in the future.
Offer your help in carrying out this plan and emphasize your faith in
the employee’s potential to achieve.
Let employees contribute: It is important to treat the review as
a two-way street. Begin by asking the employee to explain how they think
they are doing and how they can improve, then talk about your own
perspective. Letting the employee have a say in his or her appraisal
process places accountability on the employee and gives them ownership
of the results.
Balance positives and negatives: Conducting a performance review
is similar to walking a tight rope: balance is everything. Withholding
positive feedback demoralizes and discourages workers, while hesitating
to point out problems prevents future improvement. Supervisors must take
into account both the feelings of employees and the success of the
company. Alternate between negative and positive statements where
applicable. This way, supervisors can send the right message without
coming across as unkind.
Performance Review Tips for Employees
For employees, the key to achieving a good performance review is keeping
the review in mind all 52 weeks of the year. Good performance is an
everyday task—one that can’t be made up a week before evaluations begin.
Here are three helpful tips for employees to keep in mind:
Toot your own horn: Treat the performance review like the first
interview with the company. Bring documentation of any awards received,
additional training completed and goals achieved. Show how you have
helped the company grow and that you are a team player.
Speak up: Before the review, write down any questions you may
have for your manager. Also, be sure to discuss concrete ways you have
improved since your last review. Make a list of goals for the upcoming
year and discuss them with your supervisor. Though sharing your thoughts
and progress is vital, so is listening. Accept feedback—positive or
Put in the effort: Being a good employee is an all-the-time job
and requires effort all weeks of the year. Preparation for the next
performance review should start as soon as this one is over.
The above tips and suggestions aren’t the only things that can help make
performance reviews easier and more enjoyable: Paycor’s Perform HR
provides a user-friendly interface for employees and supervisors to
manage performance reviews, access employee files and foster open
communication. See how we can help improve your employee management needs by starting a conversation with us today.
Sources: Business Management Daily, Inc.com, Chron.com, BC Jobs,