Love or hate them, performance reviews are ubiquitous in the working world.
And as a boss, their outcome is up to you.
“As an effective leader, choose to make the review process a positive learning experience and let your main objective be the growth and development of your people,” says Darlene Price, president of Well Said, Inc., and author of “Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results.”
She says that the risks of not communicating clearly with your employees are another year of underperformance, mediocre results, low morale, and possibly your employees quitting their jobs.
“On the other hand, if you leverage the performance review to celebrate successes, communicate improvement, and coach the employee to embrace higher standards, everybody wins,” Price says.
Here are the 11 steps you should take during performance reviews with your employees, as well as the things you should say each step of the way.
Step 1: Start by asking for their overall feedback or thoughts
‘How are you feeling?’
‘I’d like to start by hearing your thoughts — how do you think you did this past year?’
‘How would you describe your on-the-job performance this year?’
“To begin the meeting, invite the employee to speak first,” Price suggests. “Follow the advice of Stephen Covey: ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood.’ This allows you to hear their perspective before offering your viewpoint. You’ll also discover their level of self-awareness, and be able to tailor your feedback accordingly.”
Listen actively and empathetically. Take notes if necessary to capture the employee’s own words and phrases, she says. “During the meeting, repeat his or her language where appropriate,” Price says.
Step 2: Allow them to celebrate the positives
‘You mentioned you exceeded your productivity targets. That’s great news. Please share some examples and tell me how you did it.’
“Reinforce the person’s strengths. Recognize what they are doing right and give them an opportunity to expound on their achievements,” Price says.
Step 3: Reinforce the positives
‘Congratulations on achieving _____. That’s exceptional work.’
Follow up by adding more positives from your perspective, Price says. “Use a variety of descriptive action verbs. When possible include specific facts, such as quantifiable or measurable results.”
Helpful action verbs include: accelerated, accomplished, built, changed, conducted, controlled, coordinated, crafted, created, designed, developed, directed, generated, guided, harmonized, improved, initiated, investigated, led, managed, mentored, negotiated, organized, presented, recruited, revised, strengthened, systematized, trained, and transformed.