Roughly only half of all companies conduct annual performance reviews. Of the fifty percent of companies that do tend to provide consistent and reliable feedback to their employees. However, it can be awkward at times to tell someone on your staff that they aren’t doing a good job or attempt to offer constructive criticism without sounding condescending. What are some ways to make a performance appraisal more effective and less awkward for yourself and the employee?

Standardize the review process

When your employees know they are being judged on the same set of criteria, they are less likely to take criticism personally or feel like they are being singled out. Instead, they know whether or not they have met expectations ahead of time and the appraisal can focus more on mentoring workers as opposed to dwelling on the negatives. By standardizing the process, you can look back to previous reviews to see if employees have made sufficient progress in the past year or since they began onboarding with the company.

Let the employees take ownership of the review process

Instead of telling the workers what they did right or wrong, start the review by allowing the worker to assess him or herself. Afterward, you can go through your own appraisal to see where both sides agree on that worker’s performance and where you may differ. For the most part, your workers are self-aware people who understand that they have strengths and weaknesses. By allowing your workers to take ownership of their performance review, they can better understand what the company’s expectations are, what they are doing well and what they may need to work on before the next review.

Allow time for an honest conversation to take place

Employees can start looking forward to these events as it represents a chance to get better as opposed to a lecture from management.

While you want your employees to be judged on the same standards, how you get each worker to meet those standards may be unique to each individual. For instance, some people thrive on rules and boundaries and are happy to follow them. However, others desire flexibility and the ability to make their own decisions from time to time.

Spending some time having an open and honest discussion during the review can provide valuable feedback from employees and may give some insight into why some are doing so well while others may be struggling. Based on that conversation, both the employer and employee can work together to create a plan to allow every employee to work to their strengths while still working within the established company culture.

Choose someone personable to perform the review

As long as the review is conducted in a fair and consistent manner by someone who has supervised the worker in question, it doesn’t necessarily matter who conducts the review. This means that if you have one manager or one partner who is more personable and at ease talking to people, he or she should be the one to do the review. Utilizing this tactic will eliminate the awkwardness on the management side, which should make the employee under review feel better about opening up and starting a real dialogue. Instead of dreading the review process, it can now be used as a tool to coach workers up and identity those who may be ready for a larger role within the organization.

A performance review can be a great way to help develop your workers and make them the best that they can be. Using consistent standards to appraise employee performance and empowering employees throughout the process gives them the best chance to get better and meet their goals. As such, employees can start looking forward to these events as it represents a chance to get better as opposed to a lecture from management.

By Malcolm Rowlings

About the author

Malcolm Rowlings is a freelance writer who focuses on finances, corporate training and best business practices. Those who have attended Malcolm’s coaching sessions will recognize his signature tagline “Big Ideas, Bottom Lines, Better Business.”

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