Performance Reviews – nothing to fear!

The secret to positive employee relationships is clear and objective communication. This includes positive feedback when you are satisfied, as well as criticism when you are not satisfied. The performance review is, therefore, a legitimate and valuable management tool. Avoiding fair and open criticism may result in your employees thinking of you as inconsistent; may provoke a repeat of the same situation; and, also may have a negative effect on the overall working atmosphere.

Whether you choose a verbal or written review, you should always make a note in the personnel records of the employee for your own purposes. Date, time, place, origin of problem, agreed upon solutions, employee’s comments, should be documented. This takes time, however, it might save you a lot of time and trouble in a worst-case scenario.

Important Note: Despite the necessary criticism, the performance review should be constructive and motivating.

Search for solutions together with the employee in order to get control of the problem. At the end of the conversation, concrete steps and goals should be agreed upon. This provides a positive conclusion to the interview.

Watch for opportunities to give praise when the agreed upon steps are implemented. This leads you back into the role of motivator and mentor.

9 Tips for Performance Reviews:

  1. Don’t criticize when you are upset. Calm down first and then arrange a short conversation.
  2. Choose a positive idea on which to start the conversation but don’t hesitate to be direct – don’t beat around the bush.
  3. Stay objective. You don’t want to dismiss the employee but rather to change his/her behaviour.
  4. Avoid a general statement. Be specific, pointing out concrete issues.
  5. Give your employee the chance to explain the situation from his/her point of view.
  6. Discuss the consequences of his/her misbehaviour for customers, colleagues and the company so that he/she understands why this cannot continue.
  7. Mutually search for steps to solve the problem and set goals.
  8. Keep a record of the conversation.
  9. Monitor the implementation of the agreed steps and give praise where appropriate.

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