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Advice on Crafting Effective Performance Reviews

Business Leadership

How to motivate employess ti improve.

The success of your company is founded on who you hire and how you develop their talent. In order to encourage growth and maximize their contribution to the company, managers need to know how to write performance reviews.

Performance reviews offer managers the opportunity to provide constructive criticism and motivate employees towards productivity. However, these reviews are also a critical and sensitive time for employees. Promotions, raises, and their career trajectory depend on how well they perform during this yearly evaluation. Follow these tips to ensure that your performance reviews are professional, constructive, and effective.

Establish a Strong Foundation

The foundation of a successful performance review is established well before the annual meeting. Managers must possess the skills of excellent leaders in order to provide honest feedback without damaging their team’s trust. Developing rapport, excellent communication skills, and understanding what inspires team members is essential before even considering how to write a performance review.

Effective management also involves setting goals and providing feedback throughout the year, not just during review time. Managers should review each employee’s current skills and job description at the beginning of their employment, and set and update goals as needed. This allows employees time to correct their mistakes before the performance review arrives. Managers are then able to give a more accurate summary of what the employee has achieved – or has not – throughout the year.

Defining Your Standards

If you want to do something right, you need to cover all your bases. Before considering how to write a performance review, ensure that you cover the following areas:

  • Meeting deadlines: Does the employee achieve their goals and turn in work on time?
  • Work quality: Is their work accurate, complete, and does it show creativity or problem-solving skills?
  • Communication skills: Does the employee keep the team updated on their progress?
  • Teamwork skills: Does the employee work well with others and contribute effectively in groups?
  • Dependability: Is the employee punctual and willing to help others?

Craft Your Language Carefully

Your tone is essential when it comes to communicating effectively. When writing performance reviews, the tone of your voice is reflected in the words you choose.

Avoid using hyperbole, such as “always” and “never,” which can put people on the defensive. Avoid the word “but,” as it usually precedes the negative part of a sentence, making it difficult for employees to hear any praise. Keep praise and constructive criticism separate to ensure that both are heard equally.

Finally, avoid accidentally excusing poor performance. Phrases like “I understand” can be interpreted as forgiveness, and hedge words such as “It seems like” or “I feel that” diminish the power of your statements. Never make promises regarding employment, such as “You have nothing to worry about.”

Embrace Transparency and Detail

If you’re afraid of the employee’s reaction or that they may quit, it’s all too easy to give a falsely positive review. However, if you’re not honest, there’s no reason to learn how to write performance reviews.

If you’re struggling to be entirely honest, focus your words on results, not personality traits. You’re evaluating an employee’s contribution to the company, not their character. Always relate your performance review back to their job. Placing criticism in context makes it more helpful than destructive.

Begin your review by calling out the employee’s strengths, using specific examples and numbers whenever possible. Then, dive into areas for improvement. Emphasize potential and provide the employee with a clear path to success. Follow up with more positive examples, demonstrating what you’d like to see more of, while still ending on a high note.

A GUIDE TO EFFECTIVE PERFORMANCE REVIEWS

The success of any organization depends largely on the performance of its employees. Writing a performance review is one of the most effective ways to communicate feedback to employees. It should be constructive, honest, and provide growth-focused feedback. Managers can categorize employees as high-performers, average performers, or low-performers depending on their skills, attitude, and potential.

HIGH-PERFORMERS

High-performers are the stars of the organization. They have excellent technical and interpersonal skills, and are highly motivated, reliable, and productive. When writing a performance evaluation for high-performers, managers should consider phrases such as:

  • Consistently exceeds expectations in the following areas…
  • Has made significant contributions to…
  • Drives innovation and change within the company by…
  • Successfully executed strategies that led to results such as…
  • Displays creativity and innovation by…
  • Demonstrates strong leadership and management potential by…

AVERAGE PERFORMERS

Average performers have the necessary skills and attitude, but they need improvement in some areas. They are willing to learn and are easy to coach when given the right feedback and realistic goals.

  • Improved productivity by X percent due to…
  • Achieved sales goals by X percent by…
  • Resolved X customer complaints by…
  • Responds promptly to client concerns such as…
  • Demonstrates potential to exceed expectations by…
  • Displays strong aptitude for…
  • Would benefit from additional training or professional development in…

LOW-PERFORMERS

Low-performers are employees who are struggling to meet the expectations of their role. Writing performance reviews for low-performers requires a delicate balance of feedback that motivates and course-corrects them.

  • Has the potential to increase efficiency in the area of…
  • Could benefit from additional training or support in…
  • Demonstrates potential for greater interpersonal skills, which could be achieved by…
  • Could transfer skills in X area to achieve more in…
  • With improved focus, may demonstrate an ability to improve in…

Effective performance reviews are essential for motivating employees, improving productivity, and creating a culture of success. By following these guidelines for honest and constructive feedback, managers can inspire their team to reach new heights and achieve their goals.

 

 

 

Tags: Business Leadership

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