Performance reviews are often the most important day of the year in an employee’s professional life. Knowing how to conduct this meeting efficiently and effectively will not only ensure that the reviews are completed smoothly, but also improve employee satisfaction and engagement. Getting it wrong can cause ongoing issues and damage manager/employee relationships indefinitely.
Conduct the review unprepared
Starting a performance review without bringing all of the required information and materials not only displays a level of incompetence, but is also an insult to the employee. The review is an important part of the employee’s career (in most cases) and their opportunity to discuss their future and potential salary increase. Not preparing gives the impression that you are not interested in the employee or their wellbeing.
If, during the review you raise a point regarding the employee’s performance, without relevant evidence to support your views, constructive discussions will be difficult and often not taken as seriously by the employee as they should be.
Allow interruptions or distractions
There is nothing more off-putting or insulting than someone not listening to what you have to say, especially when you should have their undivided attention. Using your mobile phone, answering calls or checking/replying to emails completely discredits both you and the meeting. An employee in this situation will most likely walk out of the review and immediately into a recruitment agency, and with good reason. Your full and undivided attention should be on what the employee has to say and what you have to say to them, nothing else.
Pretend everything is great, when it isn’t
If a certain employee is having difficulties, is not up to the task or causing problems in the workplace, pretending everything is fine is not a good strategy. The earlier and more efficiently the problem can be addressed and dealt with, the better. Discussing the issue and agreeing a plan moving forward will benefit both the employee and the business, and if there is no improvement then a further meeting will not be a surprise to the employee.
Forget to set a follow up meeting
Setting goals and targets is all very well during a performance review, but if you have not agreed a date for a follow up meeting, then these objectives prove pointless. Reviewing the actions set previously not only allows you to assess progress made by the employee, but it also allows you to reward the employee for a job well done. This process improves employee relations and also wellbeing.
Ignore the effort an employee has made
As stated above, rewarding and praising employees for their efforts is important for employee morale and engagement. Not showing appreciation for your employees hard work is a sure fire way to push them towards a new job search. Appreciation will also lead to other employees making an effort to achieve the same level of praise and so positively affect productivity.
Discuss an employee’s personality traits
People’s personalities, including good and bad traits, are not something that should be discussed during a performance review. A personality should have no bearing on how well an employee is carrying out their role and therefore how well they do in their performance review. A clash of personalities can be dealt with by those concerned separately and, equally, good friendships should be left at the door and forgotten during the performance review, it is a professional meeting after all.
Object to feedback from your employee
Performance reviews are also an opportunity for an employee to provide feedback to you. Whether this is regarding the job specifically, you as their manager or the company in general. Within reason this feedback should be used as a learning exercise for both you as a manager and for the company as a whole. Often the feedback can be discussed and acted upon constructively for the good of all those concerned. Don’t argue with the employee as this shows that you are not willing to listen or take constructive criticism. Ask the employee for examples or evidence to back up their observations or experiences and then discuss these to reach a mutually agreed resolution or plan moving forward.