Performance reviews are a necessary, and essential, part of any workplace. Although they do sometimes have a bad reputation, it’s these reviews that give everyone the opportunity to better understand their role, to set key goals and to monitor progress. Whether you’re new to management, or looking to improve your team management skills, a strong approach to performance reviews is essential.
Take the process seriously
A quick, unstructured chat over a coffee might feel more enjoyable than something more formal but it could also fail to deliver the right results. So, make sure you have a structured process in place, a set timeline for everyone to adhere to and one that makes sense in terms of when your business conducts performance reviews or hands out bonuses.
Key steps involved in goal setting and review
On the basis of a 12-month cycle, there are five key stages to consider when it comes to performance goals and review.
Month 1 – setting goals
Start the yearly cycle by sharing goals and objectives with the entire team. Meet with each employee to ensure they’ve absorbed the company’s goals and to define their own personal goals for the year. Use a clear framework for individual goal setting – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented, Time-bound (SMART) will ensure that the objectives you set are within reach.
Month 3 (and every quarter after that)
Rather than attempting to summarise an entire year in a single performance review at the end of 12 months, it’s often preferable to check in throughout the year. The idea of each check in will be to sit down with the SMART goals defined at the start of the year, look at expectations and see what the employee has achieved in terms of results. Take notes from each one so that you have more to work from at the end of the year too.
Month 10 – Employee preparation
Now is a good time to give employees notice that they should begin preparing for the review and to agree a date for the end of year review. Ask employees to begin compiling their own results, as well as completing any forms that company requires.
Month 10 – 11 – Manager preparation
It’s not just employees who need to prepare for performance reviews. As a manager you’ll also need to compile notes, results and data, as well as gathering feedback. Identify the structure that you want to use for your performance reviews and then stick to this so that you’re using the same approach for every employee. It’s important to ensure that every review identifies areas for improvement but also provides encouragement.
Month 12 – Carry out the performance reviews
Remember that different people respond differently to reviews so it’s worth tailoring your approach to personality types while retaining that key consistent structure. It will also be important to encourage employees to feedback on the review process itself to make sure that it works.
Our Performance Review Skills course is ideal for managers looking to get more from employees via effective reviews.