Employers relying on outdated, ineffective review strategies are setting themselves, their employees and their businesses up for unnecessary headaches.
The old notion of reviews being hard-hitting and plain-old negative, is just that – old and outdated.
In 2017, performance reviews are more and more turning into a positive experience for both employee and employer – a structured but open conversation that leaves both parties excited for the next 12 months ahead and what will be achieved together.
With this new approach in mind, there are key elements that can help make the review process run smoothly for both sides of the table, with employers having a real opportunity to drive a more substantial and rewarding course.
As an employer, consider the following steps to make the process more productive for both yourself and your employee:
1. Prepare to prep
Just like you prepare for each review, provide employees prep time so they can collate key results, gather their thoughts and fill out any forms you have provided.
It is best to give employees at least two weeks notice to allow them to gather all the relevant information and put thought into any discussion points for the meeting.
Once you’ve received these forms, you now have your own opportunity to prepare for the review. Pinpoint key areas of discussion and go into each meeting fully aware of the focus for each individual employee.
2. Honest to boot
Review forms are naturally filled with questions of reflection, however you can help employees to open up more by being mindful of your wording.
Avoid close-ended questions and always consider the tone of voice or phrasing: questions such as – What was your proudest achievement this year? Where do you feel you fell short in your goals? What are the areas of improvement you’d like to focus on?
Present positivity and encourage employees to engage in more honest and self-reflective responses.
3. First time’s a charm
Annual reviews are often crammed into a one or two-week process, depending on the size of the company, and while you might be reviewing employees back-to-back, it is crucial to remain respectful for each person walking in.
Avoid comments like “here we go again” and instead make them feel like this is the first review you’ve had and you have all the time in the world for them (for an hour)!
4. Three’s a bonus
As the saying goes, “Two is company, three’s a crowd” – except in the case of employee reviews!
Having a second employer in the room is a wonderful way to have a more well-rounded and dynamic conversation about the employee at hand.
It is also useful for someone to run the discussion and the other to record it – being able to make clear notes goes a long way in any follow up activity required later.
5. Early check-in
As the name suggests, annual reviews are once a year, but it’s important for any business to keep the conversation flowing in order to achieve a more fruitful and productive team.
Book in a catch up one month after the review to touch base on progress, and look to check in again quarterly after that.
Doing this ensures ongoing commitment to the actions discussed in the review and gives your employees more opportunity to reach the success level they are seeking.
6. Grab your pom-poms
The last thing an employee should feel when leaving an annual review is dejected and demotivated, and it is an employer’s job to ensure this isn’t the case.
Conclude the review with highlights and overall positive results and create a high-level energy that stays with the employee long after they leave the room! Being their ultimate cheerleader will boost morale and help set the tone and outcomes for the year ahead.
7. Don’t just touch base annually
Annual reviews are important to the development of companies and individuals alike, and should harbour a more positive undertone than perhaps it has in the past. They are also just as much a forward-planning tool as they are a review of the year gone by, and should be formatted accordingly to allow for a truly holistic employee snapshot.
Reviewing employees in 2017 should not just be left to one annual meeting, but ideally form the backbone of constant communication throughout the year.
This transparency means that when holding an annual review there should be minimal new information to the employee, with constructive feedback in particular being addressed as it arises.
Throughout the year as people’s focus and goals change, those one-month and quarterly mark check-ins ensure you and your employee remain on the same page.
Jodie Rickett is the talent, training and development manager at Kingfisher Recruitment.