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Dos and Don’ts of the Performance Review Process

Once a year, employees are encouraged to take a step back to reflect on their accomplishments of the past year and map out their plans for the year ahead. When review season hits, staff members in positions of authority are then tasked with conducting these performance reviews with their teams. If you fall into the category of boss or manager, here are some tips for perfecting the performance review process.

Do these things:

  • Conduct a thorough review: Go over their project plans to evaluate the progress they have made. This is your time to summarize a year’s worth of work so make sure to note if deliverables were met and if they have been able to achieve the goals that were set the year prior.
  • Document everything: Do your due diligence and document their concerns. You will need to keep a record of the conversation and the items that were discussed so that you can make reference to these documents going forward.
  • Allow time for feedback: Allow staff to give you feedback about how you are doing if you are their direct supervisor. If you are not managing the employees and are a member of the HR department, this is your chance to reflect on the employee’s manager or supervisor so you can get a sense of how they are managing their staff.
  • Set goals: Never leave the review without setting goals or objectives for staff to meet. Your goal for the meeting is to negotiate targets that are mutually agreed upon.

Don’t do these things:

  • Hold back: If this was a game of poker, you would be all in. Do not hold anything back because these reviews are designed to allow the time to have honest conversations with staff about their performance. Constructive criticism is encouraged to allow your team to grow under your guidance.
  • Be vague: If an employee “Needs Improvement” or “Meets Expectations”, provide them with further examples and details so they can see why they are not meeting the standards you have set out for them, or how they are meeting them and what they can do to impress you further.
  • Use negative language: It is hard to stray from negatives when you are trying to critique something. Looking for a way to present a positive take on a negative attribute? Try the compliment sandwich technique which involves layering a negative comment between two positive comments.
  • Discipline or reprimand for poor work: A review is not the right time to bring up old issues that went on unresolved – you can make reference to them, but no punishment should be given at this time. It is your responsibility to have solved these issues beforehand.
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