Performance Reviews

Quell Employees' Fears of Performance Reviews With These 6 Tips

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It’s that time of year again -- time for the year-end performance review. For a lot of employees, there is little to look forward to when the annual performance review comes around. Despite its negative connotation, the annual performance review can play an important role, and shouldn’t be disregarded.

Instead, here are six ways to revamp performance reviews to create a more favorable experience for employees and managers alike:

1. Simplify the performance review process.

There is no need to have a lengthy review with an endless amount of questions and far too many competencies to achieve.

Related: Why That Yearly Performance Review Isn't Working

Instead, focus on questions that truly matter to the development of employees, such as, “In what area(s) would you like to improve, and how can I help you?” Additionally, narrow down competencies to set more realistic goals and avoid overwhelming employees. Finally, when possible, automate the process with technology. Doing so will aid in easily tracking and continuously measuring employee performance year over year.

2. Deliver negative feedback in a constructive way.

In a 2014 study of employees by Harvard Business Review, a significantly larger number of respondents, 57 percent, preferred corrective feedback, while only 43 percent preferred praise or recognition.

Employees want constructive feedback, but it should be approached with care. The last thing managers want is for employees’ performance and morale to take a hit because of a largely negative review. When providing corrective feedback, do so in a way that employees will not take offense to and offer ways to help them improve.

3. Don’t neglect positive feedback.

While it’s a good idea to give positive feedback on a regular basis, the performance review provides a perfect opportunity to talk not only about what an employee can do to improve but what they’ve been successful at.

In a study of 65,672 employees, Gallup found that workers who received feedback on their strengths had turnover rates that were 14.9 percent lower than for employees who received no feedback. Consider asking employees what they’re most proud of at work or what their recent accomplishments have been. Recognizing their achievements and contributions to company success will motivate them and other employees to perform well.

Related: How to Turn an Underperformer Into an Ideal Employee

4. Encourage feedback from employees.

The performance review shouldn’t focus solely on the employee being reviewed, but on the organization, as well. Employers can learn a lot from employees during these reviews by asking questions related to organizational development.

For example, asking employees what they thought of their onboarding process, and whether it was sufficient, can help employers tailor onboarding to the needs and wants of employees.

The performance review should be a two-way street.

5. Solicit peer feedback.

Peer feedback helps managers gain a different perspective on employees’ performance. By soliciting feedback among coworkers, employees will no longer see the performance review process as just the manager’s opinion. Outside praise and criticism can only help employee development.

6. Make performance reviews about development.

The primary goal of performance appraisals should not be evaluating employees, but rather developing employees. One of the reasons employees fear performance review season is because they know that they’re being evaluated and that that evaluation can affect their pay, job title, etc. Performance reviews should aim to develop people into the best workers they can be. Knowing that the review is for their benefit will take some of the fear out of the process.  

In what ways do you make your performance appraisals a more positive experience for employees? Please share in the comment section below.

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