The Importance of Performance Reviews

Annual performance reviews help to create an open dialogue between employees and managers. We all know annual performance reviews can also add stress to both you and the employee, but remember, this is helping to strengthen the way you manage the employee and it simply creates a method to do so.

At the end of the day, performance reviews are absolutely needed to ensure success. As the process starts off, most times it gives the employee an opportunity to provide a self-review, touting his/her accomplishments prior to you, the manager, reviewing the employee’s overall performance. This allows the employee to reflect on his/her performance and identifies areas that may need improvement and guidance. Below are helpful tips for the planning, execution, and the follow-up phases of performance reviews, which will help you and the employee make it a successful endeavor.

Before the meeting:

The first thing to do is set-up a meeting time with the employee. The meeting should be far enough in advance so that the employee can prepare a self-review (if not required by the company) and they can list his/her accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses, and hopefully career aspirations and development opportunities.

Each employee has a different communication style so not every review or planning meeting will be conducted in the same manner. As a manager, it is important to look over the review metrics from the previous year, and understand what the review metrics are for the current review. It is also important to talk to your superior to see if he/she has any additional comments about the employee that you should relay, and review any notes you have made throughout the year about the employee’s performance. If available, make sure to review employee’s prior performance review to support your conversation with the employee.

During the meeting:

As you start the meeting it is important that you remove all distractions and focus on the conversation. First, listen to the employee. Give the employee the opportunity to present his/her accomplishments and areas where he/she may need more direction or focus. After listening to the employee it is now your time as his/her manager to discuss the employee’s accomplishments from the performance year, outlining what the employee did well. Highlight specific situations or projects that the employee did an exceptional job on. It is also important to address areas that need more focus and improvement. Reviews cannot be all fluff, but constructive feedback is a must. Everyone has an opportunity to be even better. If the employee needs more training, help them to outline a plan to improve upon their weaknesses. Discuss the employee’s career aspirations and where they see themselves in the company and what they hope to accomplish in the coming year. As the conversation is coming to a close, ask the employee to draft goals for the upcoming year for your review. Ensure that the employee’s plan is specific, measurable, attainable, results oriented, and is accomplishable within the new performance year/time oriented. This is otherwise known as SMART goals. Setting the new goals early gives the employee plenty of time to be successful.


After the meeting:

Review the employee’s submission, record your comments and submit all documentation to human resources per company policy, process and/or system.  Throughout the year it is important to provide your employee with coaching and feedback consistently. Think about creating quarterly performance check-ins to review the current goals and the employee’s progress toward them.

Although annual performance reviews are helpful, keeping an open dialogue throughout the year with employees is the best way to communicate. Having individual employee meetings throughout the year is beneficial to know if an employee is struggling with anything or to let them know what they are excelling at. With open and consistent communication, you will be able to better manage your employees and have greater success overall.

Laura Nelson, LEED GA – Business Analyst

BlueFire HR

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