If you’re setting goals, you need to create clear objectives that allow you to measure success. Create measurable goals that can be tracked over time, but try not to make them overly complicated. It’s better to have a few KPI’s that clearly define what you want rather than a list of them with minimal value behind each one.
Plan ahead for the meeting by doing your research, ensuring you have some facts and figures ready to present. Even if it’s not your first review and you both know what’s coming, it still helps to have a few points in mind about areas for improvement or accomplishments. When it comes to the actual discussion, be prepared for feedback on what went well and where there could be room for improvement.
Schedule it at least two weeks in advance, so you both have adequate time to prepare. Choose a quiet space where both of you can be comfortable and where there aren’t any other distractions (like other colleagues). This way, you’ll be able to focus on each other and communicate effectively throughout your meeting.
As the boss, you should be sandwiching the feedback between two statements of praise to make it easier to take. Sandwiching feedback is also just a good way to give positive and negative feedback in general. I like how you handled that project; However, I think we can do better next time by managing our time better; What are your thoughts on how we can do better?;
It’s natural to focus on the performance rating, but you need to avoid putting that at the centre of your discussion. Instead, focus on the workplace behaviour associated with the rating, and discuss what each party can do differently in future evaluations. The performance review should be about the meeting and creating meaningful feedback and discussion. And remember: if someone is rated low, the person who receives that rating should not be afraid to ask questions or seek further information from their manager and you should be ready to give that feedback to the staff member.
Document the meeting. During the meeting, be sure to ask open-ended questions, so both you and your employee have time to answer without feeling rushed. A good performance review should always end with actionable points—especially for employees who may not be performing up to par. Set new goals with them at the meeting, but don’t forget that communication is key between performance reviews.
Make sure to follow up on your review meeting’s outcomes as well. If you said as a manager that you would do something, make sure that you do it. Each quarter, assess how you performed against your goals and what you are going to do to improve. As mentioned above, performance reviews should be ongoing, so schedule them at regular intervals rather than once a year. After all, it’s better to address issues as they arise than let them fester over time.
Human nature being what it is, it’s easy to fall prey to personal bias when conducting reviews. The best way to avoid bias and truly get a complete picture of your employee’s strengths and weaknesses is through the use of an external review process. Externally reviewed evaluations are just as valid and accurate as self-evaluations, but they allow you to remove yourself from the equation so that you can remain objective during the review process.
Don’t forget that you need to work with this person; stay calm and professional. Don’t fall into trap of arguments and disagreements, even if your employee does. Getting emotional will only hurt you in the long run, so keep your cool and choose your words carefully.
Regular feedback is the key! By creating a regular process, you’ll help to ensure that everyone knows what’s expected of them and how they’re doing—not just at the end of the year. Employees will be more likely to perform better when they know they’re being held accountable at all times, not just once a year.