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Conducting and following up on employee performance reviews
Blog //29-11-2023

Conducting and following up on employee performance reviews

by OneAdvanced PR, Author

What is a performance review?

A performance review is a regular check-in between leaders and their teams, to track an employee's work over a given period. It's a deep dive into their responsibilities, strengths, and potential areas for growth. While annual reviews are common, some businesses prefer to conduct them semi-annually or even quarterly.

The ultimate aim of a performance review is to spotlight strengths and improvement areas in an employee's work. It helps align individual goals with the company's mission, boost communication, increase engagement, and nurture stronger relationships between staff and managers.

Although the format of performance reviews can differ based on the organisation and the employee's role, they typically involve a mix of questions, evaluations, and discussions about job duties, achievements, and improvement areas. Managers may also offer training and development opportunities to boost skills and performance.

Why are employee performance reviews important?

Employee performance reviews are crucial for any business. They offer a structured way for managers to provide constructive feedback, set growth goals, align team objectives with the company’s vision, and help employees to understand their strengths or areas for improvement.

Numerous studies have highlighted the benefits of performance reviews, including boosting productivity, engagement, and fostering a positive work culture. They also help to spot top performers and reward them appropriately, which benefits retention.

The areas performance reviews should be assessing

Employee performance reviews should assess various areas of an employee's work performance to provide a comprehensive evaluation. These areas may include work quality, execution, technical skills, customer service, job knowledge, quality of work, creativity, consistency and improvement.

To ensure that all relevant aspects are covered, employers can use a performance review form that includes prompts for each area of assessment. The review form can also invite feedback from the employee on their perceptions of their work performance and areas they would like to improve.

Tips on providing feedback in a performance review

It is important to keep the following tips in mind when providing review to employees:

Finding balance

Striking a balance between positive and constructive feedback is crucial for an effective performance review. Over-criticism can discourage an employee, while too much praise may not offer the necessary feedback for them to grow.

For example, you might begin by commending the employee's dependability and valuable contributions to the team. You could say something like, "You've shown remarkable progress and have proven yourself to be a dependable team member. Your hard work has made you an indispensable part of our team."

However, it's equally important to discuss areas that need improvement. For instance, if the employee needs to enhance their communication skills, you could say, "

Your technical skills are top-notch, but I've observed that your communication with the team could use some improvement. Let's look at ways to build on this skill."

Constructing a safe space

Creating a secure atmosphere is paramount to fostering a culture of open dialogue within the workplace. This entails constructing a space where employees can receive feedback in an environment that feels non-threatening and supportive. It's crucial that they perceive their voices as being valued, respected, and heard.

In practice, this means setting aside dedicated time for one-to-one meetings, adopting an empathetic and understanding tone, and providing constructive criticism that focuses on behaviours rather than personal characteristics. Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings, and respond to their input with acknowledgement and respect. Be clear, concise, and direct with your feedback, avoiding jargon or overly complex language that might confuse or intimidate.

In adhering to these principles, we're not merely ticking off a task on our managerial checklist; we're contributing to a work culture that values every individual and their contributions. It's about building an environment that is conducive to growth, development, and positive change - a place where everyone feels safe, heard, and supported.

Future focused

A future-focused performance review emphasises learning from the past and planning for the future.

To start, acknowledge the employee's accomplishments. For example: "You consistently met productivity goals and contributed significantly to the team's productivity. Your willingness to go above and beyond did not go unnoticed."

Next, discuss areas for future growth. For example: "Looking ahead, I believe there's an opportunity for you to take on more leadership responsibilities. You've shown great potential in leading small projects, and I'd like to see you apply those skills to larger initiatives."

Finally, set clear expectations for the coming year. For instance: "In the next year, I'd like to see you take the lead on more strategic projects and continue developing your leadership skills."

Remember, these examples should be tailored to fit each employee's unique performance and development needs.

What to not say or do in a performance review

Performance reviews are pivotal in an organisation's growth, as they provide an opportunity for managers to offer feedback, recognise achievements and discuss areas for improvement. However, the effectiveness of these evaluations largely depends on how they are conducted. Here are a few things to avoid during a performance review:

1. Using absolutes: Words such as "always" and "never" can be inflammatory and should be avoided. These terms rarely reflect the reality of a situation, as an employee's performance will likely vary.

2. Neglecting preparation: Both parties should be prepared for the review. As a manager, you should review your employee's goals, achievements, and challenges since the last performance review.

3. Shifting blame: Employees should avoid blaming others or circumstances for their shortcomings. It is crucial to take responsibility for your actions and demonstrate a willingness to improve.

4. Overly agreeable: Avoid simply saying "yes" to everything during the review. It is important to engage in a two-way conversation, asking questions, and providing your insights.

5. Focusing only on negatives: A balanced approach is crucial. While it's essential to discuss areas for improvement, also highlight the employee's strengths and achievements.

6. Vague feedback: Avoid generic phrases like "good job". Instead, provide specific examples of behaviours or results that warrant praise.

7. Ignoring employee input: Remember, a performance review should be a dialogue, not a monologue. Ensure the employee feels heard and valued.

What to do after the review

Here are some steps to take after conducting an employee performance review:

  • Schedule a follow-up meeting
  • Provide support and resources
  • Set clear expectations
  • Monitor progress
  • Recognise improvements

Using technology to improve your performance reviews

Firstly, consider using performance management software to help track employee progress and goals. These tools allow for easy tracking of metrics and provide a centralised location for employee feedback and development plans.

Video conferencing software can be used to conduct remote performance reviews, allowing for greater flexibility and accessibility for both managers and employees.

Finally, chatbots and AI assistants can help automate certain aspects of the review process, such as scheduling and reminders, freeing up time and resources for more meaningful interactions.

Future of performance reviews

Companies are moving away from annual reviews in favour of ongoing feedback aka feedback circles. For example, Adobe replaced annual performance reviews with frequent check-ins where managers provide regular feedback and set expectations.

Instead of top-down goal setting, many companies are adopting a collaborative approach. Google uses a method called Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), where employees set their own goals and track them regularly.

Predictive analysis uses accumulated data from within the organisation to track and analyse performance of each employee on an on-going level. Based on these insights, supervisors and leaders can make better decisions to take the business forward. Data-driven reviews could also help to mitigate bias and promote fairness in performance evaluations.

Augmented Reality(AR) and Virtual Reality(VR) are also marked as potential technologies to change the employee performance sector. These technologies can be used to provide employees with immersive training experiences for jobs that require a high degree of technical proficiency.

The future of performance reviews is exciting and promising. By embracing technology and leveraging its capabilities, organisations can create a more transparent, fair, and effective review process that helps employees realise their full potential and drive business success.

How Advanced can help you with your performance reviews

With Advanced Clear Review, an organisation can conduct continuous performance evaluations, set clear goals, and track progress over time. The platform uses data analytics to provide valuable insights into employee performance, helping leaders make informed decisions and promote fairness and transparency in reviews.

Revolutionise your performance review process and drive success for your organisation. Get in touch with our team today to know more.

Learn more about people management solutions here!

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