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Every company has to do it. 

When do you do it? What kind of questions need to be asked? Should pay raises be included?

And let’s face it- they usually go terribly. Leaders will often talk AT an employee, rather than engage in dialogue WITH the employee. Dr. Jeff Kaplan and Raj Khera discuss how to make these performance reviews more beneficial for everyone.

To ensure that performance reviews are effective, employees should

Complete a form analyzing their own progress.

  • One important part of this should be leadership development goals and business goals. The performance review would be analyzing performance in each of these areas of your individual or team goals. Some goals may be specific to their job title. 

Include a narrative of accomplishments throughout the year.

  • Leaders look for an employee to analyze what they’ve brought to the table in that year through a comprehensive look at what they achieved. It is important that employees reference things they did at the beginning of the year, not just recently. Document what was done and the impact on the company. Leaders and employees are encouraged to create a diary or spreadsheet to bring to performance reviews to discuss progress and analyze growth quarterly. 

To ensure that performance reviews are effective, managers or leaders need to

Engage in a dialogue.

  • Getting really clear in specific, measurable, and actionable. Minimally, these conversations should occur at least quarterly. Keep the dialogue going throughout the year to maintain progress about their goals. 

Have the employee participate in the review. 

  •  Have them reference their form and their notes about their progress. A performance review should never be a leader or manager talking AT an employee. 

Focus on development AND goals. 

  • Use this time as an opportunity to develop your relationship with that employee. Don’t just jump right into goals. Take the time to truly ask, “How are you?” 
  • Keep questions open minded and allow the employee to discuss how they feel about their progress. Ask important questions like, “What did you learn about that experience?”

Separate incentives from the performance review.

  • Incentive conversations should be separate from analyzing performance. Performance reviews should be centered around employee development. 

Have a structure and language for the performance review.

  • Excitement and confidence happens when leaders feel prepared for performance reviews. Seeing and understanding their importance is essential to making them worthwhile. By having a set structure for these meetings, leaders can feel more confident knowing that the meeting will be productive. 

Check out the podcast on this topic below!

– Dr. Jeff Kaplan
Dr. Jeff Kaplan is a business psychologist and executive coach who coaches executives and high potentials to lead with heart. Jeff helps leaders to work more collaboratively with others, recognizing that people are an organization’s greatest asset.