We understand that end of year performance reviews can cause a lot of stress. Here are five of our best ideas for turning performance reviews into a conversation that actually strengthens relationships:

  1. It’s never too late to have the pre-conversation (unless, of course, it is review day). Make sure to have the tougher conversations before the actual review to avoid anxiety, surprises and best of all, to give them time to show signs of improvement.
  2. Shift your approach from evaluator to coach. Use open ended questions to understand their perspectives and ideas.  These questions cannot be answered with a yes or no so you will learn A LOT!
  3. Set the stage before jumping into the review. “I have been looking forward to this time for us to connect.  We are going to start with your goals and your related successes.  We will then go into some opportunities for improvement and professional growth.  We will wrap up with a discussion about your performance and professional development goals for next year.  I want to make sure this is a discussion and their shouldn’t be any surprises.”
  4. Make sure you check for understanding at the end of the review. You want to make sure that they heard not only the good, but also where and how they can improve. Or, very often, you want to make sure they don’t focus only on where they need to improve, but also on what they have done well.
  5. Your review should take into consideration the entire year’s performance, not just the recent past, so make sure you jot down notes throughout the year that capture your conversations, both those that praise great work and those that guide them toward better levels of performance. This also provides you with a bonus of insuring that you are providing on-going feedback.