How to Conduct an Effective Performance Review

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Your HR Buddy is honored to have the amazing voices in the HR space joining us to share their insights. And this time we have Erica L. Fener, Ph.D., Vice President, Business Development Strategy and Analysis at Progressus Therapy talks about how to hold an effective Performance review.

Conducting performance reviews is dreaded by most managers. These meetings often involve uncomfortable conversations with staff and are frequently interpreted as disciplinary rather than helpful feedback. However, these reviews are a critical way to direct and guide employees toward desired behaviors and performance.

The information communicated and how it is delivered by a supervisor are important to both the manager and the employee being reviewed. Finding an effective way to handle a performance review benefits the employee and the company in two ways: (1) the performance review becomes a great guidance tool for the manager and employee; and (2) an effective performance review avoids bigger personnel problems later on.

The following tips on how to hold an effective performance review help make the review positive and productive:

Encourage positive performance

No one wants to always hear what he or she may be doing wrong. A performance review should start with everything the employee is doing correctly. This encourages the continuation of desired performance and also puts the employee at ease rather than defensive.

Include self-assessment

A good performance review also asks the employee for a self-assessment of his or her work. A few folks may just embellish, but most employees take this seriously and point out what they already know needs improvement. Because it comes from the employee, an honest assessment is usually the result, rendering the employee more likely to be open to change and improvement, with guidance.

Reflect company goals

Because performance reviews are often documented, companies often use forms to ensure that the salient points are covered. The form template provides a great opportunity to make clear what a business thinks is important and valuable. It removes confusion about expectations because the form clearly states company goals and what behaviors are rewarded.

Make the review personal

A performance review shouldn’t be a formal dress down. The employer shouldn’t just read words off a paper, but rather be personal and encourage conversation. Doing so allows the employee to clarify expectations as well as bring up points that may have been missed in the review. While the end result of a review meeting should be documented formally, the discussion itself doesn’t have to be.

Schedule and plan for review meetings

A performance review shouldn’t be a surprise. It should happen on a regular schedule so that the employee knows when a review is coming and what the purpose is. Most businesses perform reviews either quarterly or bi-annually. Quarterly meetings provide a better opportunity for follow-up and monitoring.   Scheduling follow-up meetings too soon after the main review, however, provides little chance for improvement.

Don’t underestimate the psychological power of a review

Being critiqued has a very powerful, personal effect on an employee’s motivation. It can make him or her a better worker with a positive outlook or a depressed and angry one. The overall plan should be focused on guiding the employee towards desired performance and reinforcing good work.

The best personnel forms and policies won’t automatically produce good performance review meetings. Nor will they provide much help in learning how to conduct an effective performance review. Managers need to regularly focus on enhancing and building their relationships with staff, coaching personnel to do better, and rewarding good performance. Those who do will generate staff loyalty and synergies. Those who don’t will get stuck with retention problems and disciplinary actions.

Photocredit: HZ University of Applied Sciences

EricaErica L. Fener, Ph.D., is Vice President, Business Development Strategy and Analysis at Progressus Therapy. Progressus Therapy is a leading provider of school-based therapy and early intervention services that helps candidates launch their careers in physical therapy. You can connect with them on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin!

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