Conducting performance reviews and discussions on a regular basis is a key part of a manger's responsibility. Conducting a performance review also carries a certain amount of anxiety, as any manager tasked with providing one can attest. There is always the potential of a dispute over the facts, a difference in perspective, or even an unplanned, unexpected, or premature discussion regarding compensation.
In order to effectively have performance discussions that identify employee accomplishments, address areas for improvement, and generate individual development plans, managers must get past any anxious feelings and move through the process confidently and deliberately. Below are some tips which will help managers overcome some of their apprehension:
Expect Some Negotiating -
Approximately one out of every five employees will work to negotiate some part of the performance review process. It may be around the rating itself, the wording of the review pertaining to "areas for improvement" or even the compensation aspect of the review - even though this typically occurs in a subsequent discussion. Expect it and be prepared for it. Anticipating issues, understanding what latitude you have within your organization's guidelines, and knowing your response(s) will go a long way towards you being successful in this part of the meeting.
Keep it Conversational -
Performance reviews should be conversational. Remember, this is also your employees' opportunity to provide their input and feedback on the performance period under review. By keeping it conversational, you will remain at ease as will your employee.
Know the Details -
Some performance reviews are conducted only once a year. This makes it not only difficult, but imperative that details are provided during the review. Recalling the specifics of something that happened ten months ago can be a challenge for both you and your employee. Having accurate details can make things easier to discuss and avoid disputes. Moving forward consider meeting once a month to discuss progress towards goals and objectives. These discussions will benefit both you and the employee for the annual review meeting - which would now be more of a "year in review" format.
Take Time to Consider -
There may be questions or considerations which arise during a review that need some additional thought. This may include an employee request about a different job assignment or perhaps a promotion. If the answer is not obvious or if you are not prepared to have that conversation at the moment, advise the employee that you need additional time to consider his/her request. This is reasonable, but make sure you get back the employee within the stated time allotted.
Time to Re-evaluate Process/Approach? -
If you have reviewed tips above and your managers still feel somewhat anxious about conducting a performance review, perhaps it is time to re-evaluate your approach or the process in general.. Maybe the reason they are so uncomfortable is because something about the process leaves them with a lack of conviction in some area of either evaluating the employee’s performance, measuring improvement, ability to have a "critical conversation" or some other aspect of the review details.
Maybe it's time for a critical review of your process. CAI can help. Start by watching Tom Sheehan's recent webinar on Performance Management. Consider getting your management team together to watch it and then have a good conversation about what needs to be done at your facility. Tom would be happy to dial in to that discussion to assist your team. Also, be sure to review the excellent Performance Management information and tools available in the Learn & GO section of myCAI. And as always, feel free to call anyone on our Advice and Resolution to help you think through your process.
Please be sure to share below any tips you have about overcoming the pressure and anxiety of performance reviews?
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