Whether you’re reading this as a manager or an employee, chances are you feel the same way: Performance Reviews are the absolute worst. In fact, a report by the Society for Human Resource Management dove into the success of performance management. Their findings showed that more than half (53%) of human resource professional grade their organization between a C+ and a B, another fifth (21%) chose a C, and a mere 2% gave their management an A.
A key to making performance reviews successful is ensuring this isn’t just happening once a year, but that you provide consistent, valuable feedback. In addition, the review should strike a balance between evaluating the past and setting goals for the future. These three components are essential to a healthy, successful performance review that both managers and employees can stand behind.
Consistent and Quantifiable Feedback
SHRM reported that 72% of performance appraisals were done on an annual basis. However, a study by Globoforce reported that 71% of employees prefer to receive feedback ASAP. While this doesn’t mean you should totally eliminate the annual performance review, it does mean you should find ways to provide ongoing feedback throughout the year. Perhaps this means tracking goals in a spreadsheet, or maybe it means writing down current projects and their outcomes every quarter. However the team functions, it’s important to track and record successes and failures and ensure you’re giving feedback immediately and not waiting until the end of the year.
Concrete Evaluation of Previous Performance
The most important thing to remember is that evaluating past performance does not mean focusing on the negative. Studies have shown that positivity has a major impact on work performance. In fact, psychologist Martin Seligman reports that Optimistic salespeople sold 37% more than their pessimist colleagues, who, on the other hand, were twice as likely to leave the company during their first year of employment. Take some time before you meet with the employee to evaluate which goals they’ve met and which you need to revisit. If you’ve been tracking these all along, this should be pretty straightforward. Encourage employees in the areas where they have been successful and challenge them in the areas where they struggled. You may be surprised at the results.
Clear Goal-Setting for the Future
A huge success factor for performance appraisals is tying the employee’s goals with the company’s mission and goals overall. According to Globoforce, 70% of employees say the point of performance reviews is to help them develop and grow. By tying their personal achievements to company successes, this helps to not only give them clarity around their responsibilities, but also increase motivation in the future. These goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Encourage employees to write down their goals and put them in a place where they will see them throughout the day. After all, goals are pointless if you forget what they are.
Need help getting started? Here are a few useful phrases to ramp up your performance reviews.