5 Ways to Make Your Company's Performance Reviews Helpful Rather Than Dreadful

Illumeo Customer Success's Profile

Employee performance reviews have a reputation for being one of the most dreaded aspects of professional work, but when done correctly they can be one of the most important tools to building and growing a healthy and successful business. Turn your organization’s performance review anxiety into successful collaboration using the five tips below.

1) Avoid surprises 

Professional performance reviews often produce anxiety because of the fear of unexpected negative feedback. If your organization has effective communication systems in place, however, nothing in an employee review session should be a total surprise for anyone involved. Performance reviews are most effective when employees receive regular feedback throughout the year and have clear expectations and goals for their work. If you haven’t already, consider replacing annual performance reviews with more frequent monthly or quarterly check-ins to make sure that they are ongoing conversations, not surprises.

2) Practice Specificity

Generalized feedback that an employee needs to be “more motivated” or have “better communication” is ultimately unhelpful because it doesn’t address specific problems, and more importantly, doesn’t lead to specific solutions. Rather than asking an employee to communicate more frequently, make a specific request that they provide you status updates at predetermined intervals or after specific projects have been completed. Specificity both in feedback and solutions helps everyone involved to better understand their expectations and achieve success.

3) Set goals 

Every person in your organization, from interns to executives, should be able to articulate their current work-related goals. Ensure that these goals remain prioritized and relevant by using performance reviews to evaluate the progress of current goals and to set new ones. Work together with your employees to set positive goals that encourage both organizational and personal professional success, including through online training and certifications programs, that will enhance the abilities of both your employees and your organization.

4) Encourage self-evaluation

Empower your employees to be full participants in their own success by asking for, and listening to, their evaluation of their progress, successes, challenges, and needs. Set them up for a successful self-evaluation by ensuring that all employees have access to up-to-date job descriptions and expectations. Ask your employees to evaluate which parts of their job they most enjoy, where they have found success, what needs clarification, any difficulties or frustrations they are experiencing, and what tools or support they need to be even more successful.

5) Listen and respond to feedback

Performance reviews should involve just as much listening as talking for all parties involved. Avoid monologuing by regularly asking questions and encouraging feedback throughout the meetings. Use their answers and self-evaluation to set goals, direct your strategic planning, and make improvements to your company processes, policies, and culture. Follow up at future performance reviews to update your employees on the company’s response to their feedback and evaluate its effectiveness in meeting employee and organizational needs.

Whether you have one employee or thousands, we hope that performance reviews are a regular and positive part of your organizational rhythm and structure. As you and your employees use performance reviews to set goals and expand your professional capabilities, Illumeo is here to help. Just like you, we won’t rest until your employees are the best they can be!