How to conduct an effective performance review

An effective performance review can provide benefits for employer and employee, as well as being a good opportunity to discuss any issues or confusion regarding individual members’ roles within the organisation.

To get the most out of your performance reviews it is a good idea to keep a few guidelines in mind before you get started.

Before you conduct a performance review

Make sure your staff members are aware of the specifics of their role, and what the expectations are, right from the start. Get the basics right by taking care to recruit the most suitable candidate for any new position, and ensure both parties are clear about the specifics of the role. If an employee is a bad fit for the position, no amount of performance management is going to solve the problem!

When you are setting out the expectations for a new or existing role, make sure they are clear and measurable. Vague terms can lead to misunderstandings and disagreements at performance review time, as well as frustration and wasted effort for both staff and employers.

How to prepare for a performance review

When you are planning performance reviews, make sure you provide employees with plenty of notice. It can be a good idea to fill out a self-assessment form and send it back to their manager before the review takes place. This can help make the manager aware of any discrepancies in actual employee performance and their perceived level of performance, as well as any other potential sources of disagreement.

Also set up the meeting to achieve success. Allocate enough time in your diary to complete the review and any follow ups. Book a meeting room which is quiet and away from distractions. Ensure that mobile phones are switched off. Ensuring the right environment exists helps to achieve a fair outcome for all parties.

During the review

Remain positive where possible. In situations where you are required to give negative feedback, or discuss poor performance, make sure you take into consideration the individual employee, and their personal communication style. Do they prefer direct discussion, or a softer style? Is there anything that is likely to trigger a negative reaction? It is highly important that any performance related issues are dealt with, both so that the employee can develop their skills, and to limit any damage to the business.

After the review

Once the review is over, make sure your employee receives a summary of the points discussed. Even if it is a long way in the future, it is a good idea to schedule in the next review so that it doesn’t get overlooked. To set a good example, make sure you follow up on any actions you agreed to with your employee promptly and effectively.

Don’t forget that confidentiality is essential when conducting performance reviews. Make sure your employees are aware that everything that is discussed during the review will remain confidential, and ensure that you comply with this. An effective performance review can have great benefits for your business, and for your employees, so it is worth taking a bit of extra time to make sure you get it right.