Tips for conducting a performance review

Updated: Dec 3, 2018

Need some help conducting performance reviews?

If it is your first time, or you have done them many times over, it is still good to ensure you are following a process and covering off the necessary steps to ensure it is a fair and non-confronting process for all involved.

Here is my five-step process to keep you on track:

Step One - Initiate the performance review process and upcoming meeting Tell your team member that you're initiating a scheduled performance review. Remind them of what's involved in the process and schedule a meeting for a few weeks out. The team members should also have received their job descriptions and goals in advance of the review, or have last year’s review as reference.

Step Two – Involve your team member and have them provide written input to the appraisal prior to meeting with them. Have them record their input and feedback, which will be combined on the official form later on in the process. You and the team member can exchange each of your written feedback in the upcoming review meeting. The employee should also be familiar with the performance appraisal procedure and forms.

Step Three - Document your input - reference the job description and performance goals Be sure you are familiar with the job requirements and have sufficient contact with the team member to be making valid judgments. Don't comment on team members race, sex, religion, nationality, or a handicap. Record major accomplishments, exhibited strengths and weaknesses according to the dimensions on the appraisal form, and suggest actions and training or development to improve performance. Use examples of behaviours wherever you can in the appraisal to help avoid counting on hearsay. Always address behaviours, not characteristics of personalities. Be sure to address only the behaviours of that team member, rather than behaviours of others or a group.

Step Four - Hold the performance appraisal meeting State the meeting's goals of exchanging feedback and coming to action plans, where necessary. In the meeting, let the employee speak first and give their input. Respond with your own input. Then discuss areas where you disagree. Attempt to avoid defensiveness; admitting how you feel at the present time, helps a great deal. Discuss behaviours, not personalities. Avoid final terms such as "always," "never," etc. Encourage participation and be supportive. Come to terms on actions, where possible. Try to end the meeting on a positive note.

Step Five - Update and finalize the performance appraisal form Add agreed-to commentary on the form. Note that if the team member wants to add attach written input to the final form, he or she should be able to do so. The supervisor signs the form and asks the employee to sign it. The form and its action plans should be reviewed every few months, usually during one-on-one meetings with the team member.

Nothing should be surprising to the employee during the appraisal meeting Any performance issues should have been addressed as soon as those issues occurred. So nothing should be a surprise to the team member later on in the actual performance appraisal meeting. Surprises will appear to the team member if the supervisor has not been doing his/her job and/or that the supervisor is not being fair. It is OK to mention the issues in the meeting, but the team member should have heard about them before.

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