Reshaping Your Performance Reviews to Make Them Less Dreaded

Let’s face it – no one likes employee performance reviews. They are dreaded by both managers and employees for a number of reasons. Fear of giving or getting negative reviews, worry over possibly having to put someone on probation for poor performance, or worse yet, fright over getting terminated for not meeting performance goals are just a few. Performance reviews tend to highlight too many problems and they are not fun to go through, even if they only happen once a year.

The good news is that there are some ways to improve the overall experience of the performance evaluation so that everyone comes out happier and focused on the positives.

Don’t focus the review on a salary increase.

Many companies tend to conduct performance reviews in conjunction with salary increases. This is a mistake, because of the emotion surrounding money. Instead, separate the two aspects and do reviews after raises several months after annual salary increases have taken place.

Use a simple performance review system.

Make the review as simple and straightforward as possible to avoid frustration. Use a 1-5 grading system, and use performance goals that are reasonable and fair for each job type. Le the employee self-evaluate before meeting with him or her.

Help the employee feel secure during the review.

A big part of the fear around performance reviews comes from employees who know they are not working up to par. Don’t let this fear overrun the performance review. Instead, set up a safe space in a private office where the employee can express concerns and set better goals for the year ahead.

Leave favoritism out of reviews.

There is no room for playing favorites when conducting performance reviews. Even if you have a great connection with a particular employee, don’t let this influence your grading. Talk to every employee with the same interest and unbiased look at their performance.

Schedule a follow up with all employees.

Instead of focusing just on the few employees who have been struggling at work, make it a point to meet periodically with all of your employee to support their efforts and eliminate obstacles to their success. This supportive stance will go a lot further than intimidation or threats of termination.