6 Tips to Giving Effective Performance Reviews

For most employees, the annual performance review with the boss is the most nerve-racking work discussion they’ll have all year. It’s stressful for supervisors too, as they have to stand in judgment of another person.  

Your performance review process should include more than just a yearly chat. Ideally, you’re providing real-time feedback to your employee(s) that you’ve established a good, strong relationship with throughout the year. In this type of system, the connection you have with your employees can survive honest feedback.  

Regardless of what type of performance review system your business uses, here are six ways to make the ordeal less nerve-racking and more useful.  

1) Have Clear Expectations in Place  

Prior to the performance review, make it clear to your workers how their performance will be reviewed. At the start of the year, hold a planning session with each employee that covers individual goals and your expectations.  

Setting expectations this way can lead to an immediate improvement, as it helps employees understand what their supervisor expects. Taking this step also helps with your credibility when it comes to holding people accountable during a performance review.  

2) Set the Stage  

A few weeks prior to the face-to-face review, ask each worker to write down their biggest achievements for the past year. This helps to put a positive frame on a conversation that many people dread discussing 

Before the meeting takes placeoffer your employee(s) a copy of his or her assessment so they can have that primary emotional response in their own space. This allows them time to mentally prepare for a constructive dialogue with a cooler, calmer head.  

3) Avoid Mixed Messages  

When it comes to giving a personal assessment, we all know about the Feedback Sandwich: compliment-criticism-compliment.  

Unfortunately, this approach can end up sending mixed messages. Instead, it’s important to be upfront while being supportive and compassionate. Those who perform well shouldn’t need criticism to motivate them, and marginal performers could be confused by sugar-coating criticisms. If someone is in danger of losing their job, they should want to know why and the immediate steps they can take to prevent it from happening.  

4) Be Specific (with Numbers)  

You want your employees to leave the review with a clear understanding of their performance and what they should be doing moving forward. The best way to do that is to give specific praise and criticism backed by hard numbers, such as sales figures or production numbers.  

5) Focus on Coaching  

Frame feedback in terms of a “stop, start, and continue”: What actions are not working, highly effective, and/or need to be reinforced? When you focus on behaviors, not personality, it takes the personal edge out of the conversation. Give specific advice and targeted praise.  

6) Don’t Cave to Pushback  

If your performance reviews include a scoring or ranking system, make sure you clearly explain it upfront and don’t give in to pushback if the employee feels underrated.  

We Can Be Your Partner in Performance  

At Nationwide Temporaries, we have many years of experience when it comes to assessing and coaching talented professionals. If you have questions about creating and conducting performance reviews, our team is here to help. Contact us today to learn more. 



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