It’s the most wonderful time of the year – unless you’re elbow deep in the middle of performance reviews. These are tough to conduct and often a fine line for managers to walk.
You want to talk about performance issues, but not focus too much on them. You also need to define goals and expectations for the year ahead. Finally, you have to ensure your employees feel valued, so recognition is also a part of the conversation.
Clearly, there’s a lot to cover and a lot at stake. How can you make the most of it all? Start by avoiding these 6 common mistakes:
Mistake #1: Winging it.
When it comes to reviewing an employee’s performance and providing feedback, you cannot wing it. You need to prepare ahead of time, so you can offer insightful and meaningful comments on past performance, as well as what you expect from a staff member in the future. This isn’t an “off the top of your head” conversation, as a result.
Mistake #2: Not giving employees time to prepare.
It’s not only important for you to prepare for a review, but for your employees, as well. So give them ample time to do so. Let them know well ahead of time the date of their review and also what you’ll be discussing. This will help them to mentally prepare and also think about areas and issues they want to discuss. It will therefore be a more fruitful conversation.
Mistake #3: Focusing too much on recent events.
Don’t simply focus on recent events that were particularly positive or negative. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on important opportunities to discuss projects and performance throughout the whole year. It’s why making notes throughout during the year on each employee’s performance is so important and helpful.
Mistake #4: Not getting specific.
When it comes to feedback, whether positive or negative, it’s important that you’re specific. For instance, don’t simply say “you’re doing great overall”; instead, offer an example of an important way the employee has contributed to the team and the difference it made for the company. Not only will this motivate them more, but they’ll also feel more vested in the organization’s success, understanding the impact they’re making.
Mistake #5: Not regularly checking in.
End-of-year performance reviews are a great way to talk about what went right and wrong in the last year and to discuss future goals. However, it shouldn’t be the only conversation you have with your people about their performance. It’s critically important to connect on a routine basis in an informal way to give feedback, offer insight, and answer questions.
Mistake #6: Not conducting reviews.
There are pros and cons to the annual performance review process. But whatever approach your company takes, you need to offer your employees feedback and constructive advice. Otherwise, they’ll get off track and frustrated more easily, leading to higher turnover in the end.
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