7 Performance Review Tips for Managers in 2022
Performance reviews are a challenging part of performance management. In fact, only 13% of employees and managers — and just 6% of CEOs — feel their company’s performance review system is useful. These discussions are essential to strengthen bonds between managers, team leaders, and employees, so it’s important to make them as effective as possible. Performance evaluations help to develop A Players who are invested, engaged, and satisfied in their roles.
Performance review time is a good opportunity to gauge employees’ motivation levels on an individual basis. Then, you can develop strategies to bring up engagement scores and productivity all around. Reviews are a perfect time for leaders to get a feel for how employees view their own engagement and performance, too.
From 2018 to 2020, there was an 89% increase in employees who indicated they wanted a monthly performance review. 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week. That shows how critical performance feedback is for establishing trust, motivation, and job satisfaction.
So how can managers conduct more effective performance reviews that are actually beneficial for everyone involved? We’re sharing six performance review tips for managers to help build better relationships and develop more A Players.
1. Get employee feedback on your review process.
It’s important that companies pay attention to how their employees feel about their performance review system. After all, it’s no secret that performance evaluations aren’t exactly popular. 55% of employees don’t feel that annual reviews improve their performance at all. An astonishing 85% of employees would consider quitting if they felt their performance review was unfair.
Take the time to talk with managers and employees about your current performance review process. Ask them what works, what doesn’t, and other methods they would find useful. Find out what motivates employees most, whether that’s a shout-out in the team meeting or setting goals for the year. Then, adjust your review process accordingly wherever possible, making sure to track the results of those changes.
2. Have more frequent, less formal conversations about performance.
Traditional performance reviews and once-a-year feedback processes are largely considered inadequate. Younger employees are more averse than other generations to annual reviews — 34% of millennials reported crying during an annual review. 97% of Gen Z employees are open to continuous feedback. Now is a good time to try relieving the stress associated with performance review meetings with a more relaxed approach.
More frequent conversations that are open, ask for employee feedback, and address things in real-time not only alleviate stress; they lead to better outcomes. Employees at companies that use continuous feedback systems are 65% more motivated and 66% more productive. That’s not to say that formal performance reviews are obsolete. They just shouldn’t be the only performance conversation all year.
3. Come prepared and make time for every performance review.
As managers know, it’s easy to overlook or not have time to address accomplishments from early on in a review period. You can avoid this pitfall and make evaluations easier by creating a record of performance-related events as they occur. That’s easiest to do when using a performance management system that allows you to easily give frequent and consistent feedback. Avoid skipping check-ins or reviews — they’re a vital part of performance management.
Performance reviews should be consistent and thorough, and both managers and employees should come prepared. With set review cycles and performance management software, managers get automatic review reminders. They can look over past reviews and analyze goal progress before each evaluation. Employees won’t be surprised by a review and know what they’ll be discussing with their manager.
4. Train managers on active listening.
According to Forbes, effective leaders listen not just to respond, but “to understand, to learn, and to guide.” That’s where active listening skills come in. Active listening requires managers to go into conversations with a “different mindset.” Train managers to ask questions, avoid making assumptions or judgments, and pay attention to verbal and nonverbal cues from employees.
Active listening also requires that managers stay present during employee performance reviews, blocking out distractions like notifications and phone calls. They should be genuinely curious in what their employees have to say, and help them feel heard and understood. That builds trust with employees, which is essential for an engaged, productive workforce.
Listen to learn, not to respond, period. Stifle a desire to offer a personal anecdote, a quick solution or a reason why or why not. World-class listeners can be quite quiet as they take the time necessary to metabolize what they’ve heard. Only offer a story if it illuminates a point; often the best response is to acknowledge that you’ve heard someone and want to consider what they have said fully.
- Joanne Heyman, Heyman Partners via Forbes
5. Give specific, actionable feedback.
It’s important to use specific examples when giving feedback, especially when performance issues arise. Instead of making a value judgement, talk about a real incident or example of poor performance. For example, you might say, “A customer you spoke with on August 25th reported that you were dismissive on the phone when they needed help. Let’s talk about what happened and how to respond in the future.”
If an employee skipped steps on a project, discuss their importance and make a checklist to reference going forward. Keep the focus on the facts and specific areas for improvement. These examples will ensure any performance appraisal feedback is clear and allows you to set goals for improving performance. If your company uses performance management software, it’s easy to keep track of feedback, other notes, and employee goal progress.
6. Plan for the future during performance reviews.
Forward-looking performance reviews can increase productivity by 13 percent. That means performance reviews are the perfect time to set goals and discuss career development. We’ve talked about the positive effects of goal-setting before. It’s motivating, improves engagement, and provides a framework for evaluating performance.
Setting goals is a proven strategy for helping employees improve and thrive. With a performance management system, you can efficiently set and track goal progress. You can also choose a time frame for goal completion, get regular updates from employees, and easily keep accurate records.
7. Offer support and opportunity during reviews.
Performance appraisals are intended to reward strong performance and address problems as they arise. With this in mind, be receptive to supporting employees whether they need improvement or are ready to learn new skills. That shows that you are interested and invested in employees’ success at work.
Conduct better #PerformanceReviews by offering support to struggling employees and growth opportunities to those ready for the next step in their career. Get more #EmployeeReview tips from @ClearCompany:
For example, if a salesperson needs to strengthen their soft selling skills, explore internal mentoring or additional training. Create a plan to work on the skill and be sure to follow up on progress. If an HR specialist wants to earn SHRM certification, discuss how your business can help them achieve that goal. It’s worth your while to do so: employee retention is 34% higher when they have access to professional development opportunities.
Employee evaluations seem like a daunting task, but investing time and effort in performance management processes that work will pay off in the long run. You’ll experience improved performance, stronger relationships with team members, and employees who are motivated to do their best at work.
This article was originally published on the ClearCompany blog by Meredith Wholley.