How to Conduct Performance Discussions with Ease and Precision

by Srikant Chellappa May 1,2020
Engagedly
PODCAST

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

In most cases, performance discussions are highly dreaded because of how much impact they have on our promotions and salary increments. But they don’t necessarily have to be that way.

The main aim of performance discussions is to know how employees are performing, appreciate their good work, correct them wherever necessary and give them more clarity about their goals and OKRs. But what happens in most cases is that the manager or the leader ends up picking out only those areas where the employee has fallen short and the whole thing appears to be more of a fault-finding process. Clearly all the employees would feel demotivated and fear for their growth. That is not how performance discussion should work.

If performance discussions are held with integrity, it keeps employees motivated, inspired to work harder and in the long run, increases employee retention. So, if you wish to be a part of those who conduct performance one-on-ones with maturity, here are some tips for you:

Make employees feel welcome:

Whether you want it that way or not, employees tend to feel very nervous when they come over for the performance reviews. So, as a manager, it falls on you to put the employee at ease. Ask them to be comfortable, ask them to get some water, tea or coffee. It does help if you lighten up the mood by cracking some jokes or start and end the discussion on a light, informal note.

Also read: Engagedly For Remote Performance Reviews

Let employees talk:

While holding the performance discussion, ask the questions but let employees do the talking. Maintain confidant eye contact and an attentive posture, so that they know you are taking them seriously.  Listen and take notes of whatever is important. Once they are done talking, go back to your notes and reiterate what is your understanding of what the employee said. Try not to interject and ask questions only when there is need for more clarity. Try to follow the 90/10 rule where the employee talks 90% of the time and the manager talks 10% of the time.

Be passive and non-judgmental:

You are the manager, and it’s understandable when you have to point out where the employee is falling short of expectations or straying away from the goals and objectives. So, it’s better to associate the performance results and conducts of the employee to the team and company objectives. That way you will come across as unbiased. Make sure you don’t comment much on attitude or personality issues. Focus more on strengths and the areas that need improvement.

Also read: How to Implement an Effective Performance Management System

Motivate the employees:

A performance one-on-one is not about you in any way. So, keep yourself out of the equation. When discussing about the improvement areas, ask them for inputs on how to solve problems. Make them feel that they are an important part of the organisation. Set goals and objectives with them for the next quarter, even training materials if need be. Be prepared for uncomfortable questions, and in the face of them, be honest.

If you follow the above pointers, no employee would dread walking into a performance review discussion with you. You would not only inspire your employees to work better, you will save your company a lot of money and effort, by retaining them for a longer period of time. Don’t forget to recap the talk and most importantly, always end on a positive and light-hearted note.


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Author
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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