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Objectives of performance reviews

Ways to prepare for a performance review with your manager

Ways to prepare for a performance review with your direct report

Performance review cycles

What is performance review

A performance review is a formal employee assessment, usually conducted by a manager, with the ultimate goal of improving job performance. 

Performance reviews help employees better align their work with company goals and manage expectations. While performance reviews have traditionally been formal face-to-face encounters, modern performance reviews are more casual one-on-one check-ins.

Objectives of performance reviews

An effective performance review benefits the worker, the manager, and the company as a whole by assessing the employee’s work performance and finding opportunities for employee development. 

The objectives of a performance review include;

  • Improve the performance appraisal system by setting goals and discussing expectations for the job description
  • Provide regular performance feedback, discuss strengths and weaknesses and motivate staff to reach their full potential
  • Simplify the promotion process by identifying the highest performers among team members
  • Establish quality performance among all employees, encouraging quality work performance through a performance appraisal
  • Guide poor-performing employees by assisting with goal setting, improving skills, and mentoring development
  • Identify training and development needs for professional development
  • Create a performance improvement plan by conducting an employee evaluation
  • Opportunity for recognition and introduction of reward initiatives
  • Improve company culture by empowering employees and addressing concerns

Performance evaluation is often led by a manager or human resources representative. Still, it can also be a peer review, team performance review, or self-assessment. 

Depending on the rater, the review may dive deeper into specific topics such as professional development, behavior change, compensation check-in, and goal setting.

Ways to prepare for a performance review with your manager

Employee feedback plays a critical role in the performance review process, offering valuable insight that benefits the company and their role. 

The following practices help employees make the most of an employee performance review.

  • Make notes on discussion topics such as strengths, weaknesses, goals, and needs
  • Prepare specific examples of overall improvement since the past performance review
  • Conduct a self-evaluation using a mock performance review
  • Prepare questions for the employer to ensure all needs are met

Performance reviews serve as a follow-up discussion on previous employee performance reviews. Conducting a self-assessment of strengths, goals, and weaknesses beforehand helps to streamline the discussion and optimize the employee performance review. 

A review meeting is a safe space to ask questions and express concerns or requests. Preparing questions in advance makes the most of the opportunity.

Ways to prepare for a performance review with your direct report

Performance reviews are usually a two-way street, with both employer and employee offering insight and feedback. Yet as the employer has more authority, they set the tone for the meeting.

The following preparation tips ensure a productive and effective performance review with quality employee engagement.

  • Outline performance expectations and goals
  • Provide regular feedback throughout the year and avoid an accumulation of issues
  • Maintain necessary documentation throughout the year, such as hiring documents and feedback surveys
  • Ask others for feedback on the employee’s performance
  • Create a system of constructive communication

Optimal performance management happens throughout the year. Regularly monitor measurable goals and overall performance, and document examples of work to use as reference.

When working with a remote team, performance reviews are conducted online. Ensure a reliable internet connection, communicate clearly in the time zone, and give yourself enough time to discuss all points without rushing.

Keep the following tips in mind during the review;

  • Include genuine positive feedback
  • Provide solutions for poor performance
  • Avoid comparing the employee with another
  • Remain transparent and honest
  • Maintain the objective of the performance review
  • Ask the employee for feedback
  • Reflect on the past, but focus on future performance
  • Practice active listening

At the end of the performance review, agree on steps moving forward and draft an action plan. Keep the conversation going by implementing a continuous performance conversation model.

Performance management software streamlines the process with large or remote teams, helping high-performing teams with a performance review template, engagement surveys, performance ratings, and more.

Performance review cycles

All performance reviews require planning, monitoring employees, reviewing and rating employees, and rewarding performance. 

The cycle is repeated at intervals, depending on the company and the review's goal.

  • Ad-hoc - once-off, quick assessment for urgent performance commentary (positive and negative)

  • Monthly - hold employees accountable for long-term goals and objectives

  • Quarterly - provide feedback, acknowledge achievements, and set actionable goals with direct reports

  • Annual - formal assessment of learning more about strengths and weaknesses, assisting with goal setting, and identifying ways to upskill

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