Employee reviews can be an intimidating process for both parties — especially if you’ve never been a part of the process before. Occasionally, the review process gets clouded with an air of negativity and judgment, but it should be an open forum for praise and constructive criticism. The manager can share what the employee does well — where they shine — and what areas the employee can improve upon. It’s an opportunity for growth and a discussion for the future.
A review needs to be more than just a pat on the back, “good job,” or “needs improvement.” Remember, it’s an opportunity for growth. A manager needs to offer thoughtful and thorough feedback in order for the employee to learn from the experience. In turn, an employee needs to keep an open mind.
According to Tiny Pulse’s 2017 Employee Engagement Report, 79% of employees don’t think their organization’s review process is that great to begin with. Don’t let your employees be a part of that. Be good at reviewing. Or, if you think your review process needs work, consider the following to instill change in your company:
1. Talk about feedback — both informal and formal
Feedback matters. However, this feedback should be a summary of the feedback from throughout the year. It needs to be a recap. Hopefully, this isn’t the first time you are discussing. While this is the official annual review, you want your employees to feel like they receive solid and doable feedback regularly. One study actually found that 62% of millennials felt blindsided by their review and 74% said that they don’t really know how their coworkers and supervisors think of how they are performing. Offer continuous, constructive and supportive feedback often or when appropriate. If a particular action or behavior doesn’t require immediate feedback, make note of it to discuss in the review.
2. Choose your words wisely.
Your employee (and maybe even you) might be nervous enough during the review. Don’t exacerbate the nerves by not being wise with your word choice. Also, don’t just use words like “good” or “excellent.” Consider using words that show action and are easily measurable. Use words like “excels,” “communicates,” “directs,” or “achieves.” These show more action and can be used to measure improvement or what needs work.
3. This is a discussion. Not a one-sided conversation.
Encourage your employees to talk about your feedback. Get there point of view and ask them what they think they can improve on. This isn’t just you talking at them. Take the time to discuss your points with them. It will help both of you in the long run.
And, of course, end on a positive note. If the conversation begins to get heated, put a pause on it and circle back later once things have calmed down. Reviews are for building your employees up and helping them become better. There are so many positive things that come out of good reviews, like higher employee engagement rates, higher satisfaction, work improvement and making your business a better one.