How to Give an Outstanding Performance Review

How to Give an Outstanding Performance Review

Performance reviews are a great way to give feedback to employees — but only when they’re done in the right way. Here’s how to create a happier and more productive team through your performance reviews.

Performance reviews are an integral part of every workplace. It is through them that employees can gain feedback on their work and performance — but the ways in which they are delivered are changing. 

Annual appraisals and reviews are becoming very outdated. Different methods are taking center-stage. Feedback should not simply be given once a year; it should be frequent and fluent. This is why some companies are moving towards more regular performance reviews.

Reviews or appraisals shouldn’t simply be a tickbox exercise to keep the HR department happy, nor should they try and cram a year's worth of feedback into one meeting.

Performance management is a process. When done effectively, performance reviews can create a happier workforce and improve retention rates. Adobe abolished performance scores and opted for regular check-ins with employees. This resulted in a 30% decrease in voluntary turnover.

Reviews should be planned thoroughly and organized on a regular basis, but there’s also a lot more to consider. To create the very best performance reviews, follow these steps:

Prepare Your Discussion

All meetings should be prepared, even if it’s only a 10 or 15-minute check-in with an employee. Whether you are giving positive or negative feedback, it’s crucial to prepare. An unprepared meeting looks unprofessional and can demonstrate to the employee that you don’t really care. Offering feedback in a constructive way can help the conversation and your employee to develop.

A method which is often discussed when giving feedback is the ‘sandwich’ method. This involves giving positive feedback, then negative feedback, but finishing on a positive. This method can often leave an employee feeling confused or only remembering the final positive note. They need to remember the areas for improvement as well.

I believe that the E2C2 model is much more effective. This method allows you to give evidence of where there is room for improvement. Tell the employee the effect of the poor performance, then suggest the change and continue with how to move forward.

Be Honest

If an employee isn’t doing their job to the standard they should be, you must discuss this with them. There is no benefit to giving them false hope and them optimistically applying for a promotion because they’ve been told they’re doing well. The last thing you want is to tell an employee they’re doing great, then have to let them go later down the line.

Using the E2C2 model is an excellent way to offer constructive criticism. A good employee will take on board the feedback and use it to improve their performance.

Encourage Employees to Come with Feedback

It’s important to gain feedback from the employees about how they feel they are performing. Discuss any difficulties they are having and how you can help and support them as a manager. Their feedback can be very valuable and can highlight practices that will improve their work.

Set Goals and Discuss the Future

Setting goals should not be a menial task which is tacked on to the end of a performance review meeting. Rather, goals should be set by the manager and the employee through a dialogue. Discussing goals means you can talk about the challenges and what is realistic, but also stretching that person to achieve higher. Discussing goals at each meeting is essential, but knowing that the goals will be followed through is just as important. There is no point setting goals if they are not checked up on.

89% of companies have changed their performance reviews or are planning to change it. Will you join those companies and create an effective performance management process?

Author: Christine is the director of The Hub Events. The Hub Events offers a variety of management and leadership courses throughout the UK, with a number of courses for managers about how to give the very best feedback to teams.

Insights for Professionals