Performance Reviews : A Manager’s Guide

by Srikant Chellappa May 12,2021

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Many organizations around the world today are in the process of completing their year-round performance reviews. Whether you are doing it yearly or half-yearly, so far it has been an indispensable process. But globally many companies have now ditched the annual / half-yearly reviews in favour of feedback-based continuous performance management. 

Also Read: Why These 8 Top Companies Redefined Their Performance Management Systems

Often, these reviews are not fruitful, and it is just a waste of some productive hours for the managers and their employees. Both the manager and employees go in unprepared, and the results are not as expected. A little preparation and these meetings could turn into productive discussion sessions related to strategic planning, goal setting, etc.  

The Importance Of Performance Reviews

We all know the significance performance reviews hold in today’s day and age. Efficient processes not only help understand employee performance but can also measure productivity. Managers share constructive feedback, review goals, identify development opportunities, and help employees to identify their strengths and weaknesses. It also serves as the tool for discussion of salary appraisals, incentives, and promotions. Here are some of the benefits.

Helps Align Goals And Objectives

Performance reviews offer a scope to discuss and align employee goals with the team and the organization’s goals. It gives them a sense of direction and helps them understand how they fit into the bigger picture.

Also Read: 7 Reasons To Set Employee Goals 

Promotes Communication

Performance reviews are a great opportunity to promote a culture of feedback and communication in the workplace. Feedback from managers helps employees know their strengths, weaknesses, blind spots, and gaps. It helps them understand where they are going wrong and what they are doing right. It also helps in employee engagement and enhances employee experience.

Clarity in Job Roles

Often employees are not clear about their job roles and responsibilities and how their work affects employees of the same team or others. Additionally, these meetings act as a great platform for them to understand their job roles better and remove any ambiguity.

Praise, Recognition & Rewards

Employees love being praised, recognized, and rewarded for their work as incentives, bonuses, promotions, or some time-off. Employees feel valued, important, and satisfied when the organization and managers show gratitude. Conversely, if you fail to reward or recognize them, they feel demotivated, disengaged, and ultimately leave your organization for other opportunities.

Also Read: Employee Recognition And Rewards During COVID-19

Personal & Career Development

Performance reviews are a great way to plan for the training, mentoring, and development programs. Identify where your employees see themselves in the next few years and what challenges they would like to tackle. These meetings act as a guide for employees to tread the correct path for their skill development. 

Want to know more about skill development?

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What Is Good Performance?

Although there is no specific yardstick to measure good performance, but we at Engagedly have identified six guidelines to measure someone as a good performer:

  • Meets targets on time
  • Takes complete ownership of responsibilities
  • Completes job duties
  • Have the willingness to learn and develop along the way
  • Follow the ‘Code of Conduct’ and company policies
  • Shows a positive attitude and collaborates with the team

Tips For Managers

Performance Review Tips For Managers

As a manager, it is your responsibility to give your employees accurate reviews, which would help them perform better and achieve results. Here are some tips which will help first-time managers or even experienced ones to navigate smoothly in the performance reviews.

Prepare Well On Time

Although a performance review is not more than a half-hour or an hour activity but as a manager you can’t go in unprepared. Schedule the meeting well in advance so that it gives both of you time to prepare for it. Send a meeting invite and block a calendar slot of your direct report. Decide on the key points that you want to focus on and discuss and document them. Review their past performance and achievements. Collect feedback from other stakeholders on their performance and document them to share them with your employee.

Also Read: Top 5 Employee Goals And Objectives For 2021 

Communicate Clearly With Your Employees

Communicate clearly and concisely with your employees during a performance review. Make sure they understand what you want to convey. Avoid responding with one-word answers, such as Good Work, Unsatisfactory Work, Poor Work, or even avoid using phrases such as You did an outstanding job, or You did a terrible job. One word or a phrase won’t help employees to understand their performance any better. It would destroy one of the main motives of the performance reviews. Employees would leave the reviews being unsatisfied and with incomplete information. But as a manager, you don’t need to go overboard with your words but let them know enough, so they are at least in the right direction.

Set Goals And Objectives

A performance review is not only to assess what has happened in the past but also the platform to set goals for the future. Help your employees to set goals and objectives for the next quarter, half-year, or year. The goals should be tough to challenge your employees, but attainable so that we do not demotivate them. Track and review them from time to time to track the progress. It would ensure your employees are on track.

However, writing good employee goals is not that easy. Here’s our guide to help create attainable and smart goals for your employees.

Keep Your Employees Involved

Make sure it is not a one-way conversation, jazz up the conversation with question-answer sessions. Give your employees the opportunity to take part and speak. Half of the performance reviews do not create any impact because they are not interactive enough. Give them feedback, ask them questions and suggestions which will allow them to take part actively in the discussion. 

Design Performance Improvement Plans

Performance reviews are a great opportunity to discuss the performance improvement plans of your employees. It does not indicate that your employee performance was not up to the mark. It is a chance to improve future performance based on the previous one. In the performance review, set OKRs and design a performance improvement plan based on previous performance.

Review Frequently

Sharing timely reviews can greatly impact your employee’s performance. It motivates them and allows them to improve continuously. Moreover, it helps them stay aligned with their goals and objectives. Timely feedback, whether positive or constructive, helps employees perform better and reinforce what they are doing right. It also allows you to appreciate and acknowledge your employees regularly, which makes them feel valued and important.

Also Read: How Continuous Performance Management Help Improve Performance

Document Everything

Human memory has a limited capacity, and it can only store a certain amount of information. If you do not document the ongoing performance review, it might cloud your next one with biases. It will serve as a benchmark for the next performance discussion. Not only this, it will provide evidence-based support for your next discussion and help you decide regarding rewards, promotions, or incentives. A performance review software such as Engagedly can help you store and document historical performance data of your employees.

Want to know how Engagedly can help you manage performance reviews? Then request for a live demo.

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Srikant Chellappa
CEO & Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2024.

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