Conduct an Informed Performance Discussion

by Srikant Chellappa Jun 4,2020

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Conducting a performance review discussion need not feel like rocket science. Every time it looms large, performance reviews tend to have a similar effect on all employees: shooting up their level of stress.

Why do you think it’s like that? It’s because, even if you would’ve given your 200% in the past one year or quarter, there is no guarantee that it is enough. And we are all scared of negative feedback.

But the performance discussion should not be as dreaded, and no employee should have to walk into one without already knowing how they have performed in the last session. The main aim of the meeting is to deduce a positive outcome that benefits both the employee and the organization. So, to do that, here are some steps you can follow.

Also read: 8 Simple Strategies for Employee Recognition and Rewards at Workplace

Communicate the purpose and discuss the agenda:

We all know that performance discussions are about the work record of an employee. But that’s not the purpose of the meeting. The main purpose of the meeting is, what message do you want the employee to derive and walk out of the room with? It could be about general improvement, enhancing certain specific skillsets, or future prospects, either ways, have a main theme in mind that would steer the performance discussion.

Performance review meetings are not meant to be one-sided. So, meet your employees beforehand, set an agenda, ask them to set goals for themselves and create a list of things they would like to discuss about their growth and future. Let the meeting be a conversation between two people.

List out the achievements and the challenges:

Performance reviews are meant to take time and go in-depth. So, take time to talk about the achievements of the employee and motivate them. Ask the employees to share their achievements with you, in case you would have missed out on any.

Then list out the challenges that the team or the department is facing and brainstorm about the solutions. Make the meeting worthwhile.

Until now, the performance review was about the past incidents, behaviors and actions that have already taken place. The following points will include future planning and growth.

Talk about the action plan:

One of the main sections of a performance discussion is when you discuss action or development plans with your employee. Ask your employees about the goals and plans they have for their career and future. See if they are in alignment with the company goals, and suggest skills sets they need in order to get there.

As a manager, you need to have your to-do list as well. Both the parties should have an action plan to work towards, by the end of the discussion.

Extend support and summarize:

At the end of the performance review, touch base on all the main points talked about and thank the employee for participating. It is an important way to show that you have been paying attention and the employee feels valued. It might be helpful if you ask for feedback from your employee as well, so that you can improve as a manager.

Also read: Teamwork Challenges You Might Face Due To Performance Reviews

When you plan and execute a performance review right, it ends up being beneficial from all angles, be it for the company, manager or the employee. Now that you have read through our tips to conduct a proper performance discussion, do let us know in case you have any points to add to this.

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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 2023.

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