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SWBC's BusinessHub blog is a one-stop resource for business owners and company decision makers.


Knock Your Annual Performance Reviews Out of the Park

knock-performance-review-out-of-the-park-800.pngPerformance reviews can be stressful for both you and your employee(s), but with proper planning, you can knock your reviews out of the park. Employees want to hear how they are performing on their jobs and what value they bring to the organization, and constructive criticism is key to helping them develop personally and professionally. Keeping an open dialogue helps build your relationship with your employees and builds mutual respect in the workplace. 

Here are a few tips to help you give a great review and develop top-notch employees.  

  • Begin treating your reviews as year-long activities with regular one-on-ones and give yourself proper time to plan. Planned reviews allow you to deliver comprehensive feedback, and regular one-on-ones mean fewer surprises to your employees. 

  • Select the best time to conduct your review and be sure it coincides with your organization’s preferred schedule. Most companies operate on an annual basis or near budget season. 

  • Set your expectations and goals early for your employees. Meet with them at the beginning of the year and share your expectations for him/her and the team. Set up individual meetings to set their goals and build a framework that aligns with the organization. 

  • Continue to track and monitor your employees’ goals and provide feedback when applicable at touch-base meetings every quarter, or as needed, to review your employees' progression toward their goals. 

  • Give your employees time to prepare and pull together their annual results and a summary of his or her key job responsibilities, current projects, and a recap of goals and achievements two months prior to their review. 

  • Encourage your employees to be as detailed as possible on their self appraisal. This Q&A will help guide the conversation and provide an entry to an open dialogue.

A few examples include:

  1. What accomplishments I am most proud of this year?

  2. What challenges have I faced this year?

  3. What are my short- and long-term goals? 

  4. What are some things that I need from my supervisor to help me do my job better and grow professionally?

Prior to the review, you should spend time to review your notes and results for each employee. Begin gathering quantitative measures of employee performance, such as sales reports, deadline reports, and feedback from clients, colleagues, or customers. These reports can be key talking points to discuss with your employees during the review. After you compile all of your data, it is now time to sit down with your employee. This can be the most difficult part of the process, but also the most rewarding.

Remember to listen to your employees, respect their responses, and offer advice to help their professional development. Annual performance reviews can set the tone for the following year. Even if you must use this time to go over areas where your employees need to improve, remember to use constructive criticism, and don't walk out of the meeting without giving them some positive feedback.

We would love to hear from you. Share your best practices on how you conduct a great performance review. Leave a comment.

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