Performance evaluations can be a stressful time for both employer and employees. These conversations are important, and as a manager, you probably look forward to them as they’re a chance to refocus, cease bad behaviors and incentivize the good ones. But, they can also yield some uncomfortable conversations and sometimes deliver bad news. Below are our expert tips on the stress-free way to deliver performance reviews.
Create the right atmosphere
Hold the reviews in a small, neutral space, like a conference or meeting room. Sit next to the employee, if possible, without a table or desk between you—this creates both a physical and metaphorical barrier that hinders communication. Schedule the meeting a few days in advance with the employee’s help, so you can choose a time that’s less busy or less stressful. Allow for enough time that you can give each employee a fair amount of attention and allow them to ask questions or provide feedback. You want to foster discussion and collaboration.
Give the employee a heads up
Tell your employee ahead of time how the conversation will be structured. This gives them a chance to prepare, so they’re not put on the spot when you ask for their opinions and insight. Let them know you’ll be discussing last year’s goals, achievements, and areas for growth, followed by a conversation about goals for the upcoming year and opportunities for professional development.
Give behavior-based feedback
Be straightforward, offering evidence of both positive and negative behaviors, not a general assessment of the person. When you make assertions about the person, your employee will feel attacked and defensive. Behavior-based feedback, on the other hand, allows you to simply relay the information, not to be judge and accuser. But behaviors are specific failures that can be changed.
Ask for input
If you’re looking for improvements, you need to ask the employee what additional resources or training they need to be successful. If you’ve had your employee complete any type of self-evaluation, make sure you echo their comments in a way that lets them know you’ve heard them, respect their opinions, and wish to validate their insights.
Establish very clear and specific goals for the upcoming year and discuss options for professional development. Set milestones or markers when you can check in and measure progress.
Sum it up
At the end, close with a summary. Briefly lists the employee’s strengths, areas that need improvement, and goals for the upcoming year. Reiterate any actionable steps that you agreed upon, who’s responsible for what, establish a timeline for those actions, and thank the employee for their time.
For more tips on facilitating performance reviews that keep your team engaged and motivated, contact our staffing experts at Focus of Georgia.