By Will Bridges
Annual performance reviews are par for the course in many businesses. While some people dread them, they offer a great opportunity for employers to sit down with employees to discuss issues and concerns, and to ensure that everyone is happy.
Without forward planning, however, it can be difficult to ensure that both parties are getting the most out of the process. To ensure annual reviews are efficient, effective, and a good use of time, the following criteria should be considered:
Often regarded as a bureaucratic exercise to be ticked off the “to-do list,” if done properly and prepared for, annual reviews can be of real value to everyone involved. Before the meeting, it is important for you (and the employee) to consider the topics you wish to raise and what you they want to get from the review.
Taking the time to plan beforehand and looking into specifics related to the employee in question will go a long way to ensure the meeting is not a waste of time.
Reviews should be private and confidential; therefore, the location of the meeting should reflect this. Choosing a setting that allows for confidential discussions, such as a small conference room with a round table, will help the conversation flow more naturally and put employees at ease.
If such a room isn’t available and there are only larger rooms with long tables at your disposal, choose to sit adjacent to the employee rather than at opposite ends of the table. Making employees feel relaxed rather than as though they are on trial will improve communication and make the review more effective.
As with any meeting, it’s useful to have an agenda as it ensures that you cover everything you need to. An agenda will also tell employees from the very start what to expect during the review and will help to put them at ease.
While the agenda doesn’t have to be in-depth, it can be a good way to give an overview of what will be discussed. In general, a review may cover these four topics: 1) past performance, 2) current performance, 3) future goals, 4) personal development.
The agenda for reviews may vary depending on how your company operates, but a clear rundown of what will be discussed helps everyone feel at ease and also allows you to keep track of everything you wish to discuss.
4. Promote discussion
Reviews should allow for open discussion on both parts; therefore, it’s important to encourage employees to give their opinions and raise any issues they wish to talk about. Finding out what employees think and whether they require extra support can provide real insights into them as people and also helps you know how to aid their personal and career development.
5. Be honest
To get the most from a review, it’s important to be honest about both the good and bad. Giving due praise and credit is always appreciated and shows employees that their efforts haven’t gone unrecognized. Equally, honest feedback also relates to things employees need to improve on.