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Leadership Insight: Performance Reviews for Your Employees

Performance reviews are an essential part of your employee's development. As a leader, you have the opportunity to help them grow and improve by providing constructive feedback that will lead to better work habits, skillsets, and performance.

However, they can be intimidating to both the employee and the manager. If you're not sure how to approach this process or what things to focus on during a performance review with an employee, read on for some tips and tricks!

Why are performance reviews important for your employees?

The purpose of a performance review is to provide your employee with an opportunity to reflect on their work and set goals for the future.

In this context, there are three important things that an employee needs:

  • Direction on how they can improve their skills or projects

  • Feedback on specific areas where improvement is needed

  • Recognition for what good work looks like

How can you prepare for a performance review with your employees?

If you’re having trouble getting started, think about the goals of the meeting. What do you want to accomplish? Are there any performance issues that need addressing? If so, how will you handle these issues in an effective way?

List all the things you want to discuss. This way, you'll be ready to focus on the most important issues when you meet with your employee. It would help if you also asked your employee to prepare a similar list of topics so that you both know what will be covered in the meeting.

Make sure there's enough time allocated for the meeting.

Keep an open mind and be ready to listen. It's important that they have an opportunity to share their thoughts on how things are going and how they can improve in future reviews.

What should you focus on in a performance review?

When it comes to performance reviews, focus on the big picture. As a leader, you'll want to take into account the employee's strengths and weaknesses and how they relate to your goals as an organization.

Think about what your employees are working on right now, and consider where they'll be in six months or a year from now. Remember that part of giving good feedback is not just giving advice but also helping them find solutions for their problems and helping them grow as professionals. That means coming up with solutions together by discussing ways they can improve their performance and make their jobs easier.

How do you give constructive and positive feedback to your employees?

Focus on the positive. The most important thing is to focus on what your employees did well. For example, if your employee did a great job organizing the annual holiday party—and it was all her idea—then that's what you should focus on. Let her know how much you appreciate her initiative in planning such an amazing event. If she didn't do quite so well with another project but has shown some improvement recently, mention that as well.

Be specific. Be sure to provide examples and specifics—what went right or wrong.

Give feedback in a timely manner. Do not wait until someone's review period comes up before giving them their performance review (or "feedback").

Remember that feedback is different from criticism. When someone receives a piece of criticism, their first instinct will be to defend themselves or argue. And while they might be right, this approach is rarely effective — it's usually just going to make your people defensive, which can lead to poor communication.

Focus on behaviors, not personality traits. Performance reviews should not be an opportunity to point out people's personality flaws or flaws in their character. Instead, focus on behaviors — what they say and do.

Tips and Tricks for Your Performance Review.

Provide constructive, positive feedback. A performance review is a great opportunity to provide constructive feedback to your employees; you should focus on their strengths and how they can improve.

Focus on the employee's needs. Your goal is to help your employee become more successful at work—so be sure to tailor your performance review toward that end. For example, if an employee needs help managing time effectively, it’s better to focus less on their interpersonal skills and more on ways they can manage their own time better (like setting daily goals).

Have an honest conversation with them about it! The most important part of any performance review is having an open dialogue with your team members about their progress toward meeting certain goals or targets set by management earlier in the year.

Do not give feedback when you're angry or frustrated, and avoid giving it in front of others. If you're upset about something your employee did, wait until you've calmed down before giving him your feedback.



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