Conducting employee reviews isn’t the easiest part of any person’s job, but it shouldn’t be something you avoid. No one likes to be criticized, but always praising employees doesn’t allow them to grow and become a greater part of your business. Here are a few tips to make ongoing performance management easier for managers and business leaders:
Hold Regular Check-Ins Instead of Annual or Semi-Annual Reviews
Frequent check-ins and conversations are a better gauge of individual performance than reviews held once or twice a year. Regular feedback improves creativity and problem-solving, keeps productivity high and helps eliminate mistakes. In addition, consistent evaluations give employees concrete evidence that they are either on the right track or could use a little improvement. They don’t have to wait for six or 12 months to find out how they’re doing.
Own Your Statements
When discussing how employees can improve, it’s best not to make accusatory statements. As the University of New Hampshire noted, sentences such as, “You aren’t doing this correctly,” immediately put people on the defensive, even if they are accurate. Instead, you should own your statements by using phrases like, “I believe,” “I see,” and “I feel.” Doing so has the benefit of showing you take responsibility for your statements and is much more likely to gain the respect of your employees.
Establish Clear Performance Criteria and Examples
Simple statements such as, “You’re doing great,” or, “There’s room for improvement,” certainly bring about an emotion, but they don’t do much in the way of providing actual feedback. Your employees need a measurable way to gauge whether or not they’re doing a good job, the National Institutes of Health mentioned.
“Employees can refer back to their OKRs periodically to make sure they’re on the right path.”
Establishing objectives and key results is a good way to define these benchmarks. Employees can refer back to their OKRs periodically to make sure they’re on the right path. Then, you can discuss these objectives and results and provide examples of their performance during your check-ins.
Don’t Surprise Employees With Unexpected Feedback
There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve done a good job all along, only to walk into a performance review and find out you’re actually falling behind. Not only does it take a minute to recover from the shock and bruised ego, but the encounter leaves employees confused as to their expectations and their role in the business.
The best way to avoid this pitfall is to focus your conversations on the person’s previously established goals. Your employee uses his or her OKRs to establish whether or not these goals were met. Keep the conversation primarily on these OKRs and stray only when the subject is relevant to the employee’s goals.
On that note, however, there’s no reason to wait until a scheduled review to correct bad performance. If you notice an employee who isn’t doing well, schedule a quick chat near future for two of you can talk things over. Your employee will appreciate the heads up outside of an official setting, and your business won’t suffer from poor productivity.
Leave With an Action Plan
Your employees constantly look forward to the next step. Even if they’re currently on the right track, they want to know what the next level is and how to get there. As such, every check in you have should end with an action plan. It could be a reassessment of the established OKRs, or you and your employee can discuss new goals and objectives to propel him or her forward.
Performance management shouldn’t be a dreaded hassle. Rather, it should be a chance to help your employees grow, increase productivity and create a better business.