Using a systematic and objective approach to giving an employee feedback on his performance review is a vital management practice. Starting off with solid preparation, making sure the employee is well informed, comfortable with the process and open to feedback will make for a successful event. Read on for more specific ideas on how to give an effective performance review.
Be sure to give employees feedback on an ongoing basis on the job. That means that you proactively correct behaviors through retraining as needed and reinforce positive or superior performance regularly. The person should never hear about a problem with his performance for the first time during the review process. He should be well aware of issues from the coaching he has received on the job.
It is always a good idea to give the employee a chance to do a self-appraisal before you give the official review. This will give the manager an opportunity to understand what the employee thinks about his own performance as well as highlight some of the ups and downs that may have occurred throughout the time period that is covered by the review. Collect this self-review from him before the review and use some of the points from his perspective on the actual review if you have not already noted them yourself. This way, the employee can appreciate that he has some control over the review process.
Be sure to find a nice, quiet office area away from phones and faxes where you can meet with the employee to discuss the review. Do not rush, talk too fast or be tense when giving the information. Try to get some interaction from the employee as you go through each section of the review and give him a chance to discuss anything he does not understand or agree with on the form. If new information comes forward that you were unaware of, you can consider making changes to the content, but this should be only under exceptional circumstances. He may not fully agree with you on every point, but he should thoroughly understand your position and your ratings.
Be fair and don't play favorites with your people. That means that you recognize the positive and negative performance indicators from everyone. Try not to make one failure overshadow the employee's entire performance. Or conversely, because one employee is very good in one area, recognize that he may need to develop in other areas and give him tips and advice on how to accomplish this improvement.
At the close of the review session, assure the employee that you will do anything you can to support him in his efforts to learn, train and improve performance. Try to end the meeting on a positive note and if follow-up activities are needed, commit and follow through on these promises.
If you are dealing with a difficult employee who has serious performance issues, it may be in everyone's best interests if you include another manager in the review meeting, such as your supervisor, an assistant manager in the department or the human resources manager.
Taking the time to prepare for the performance review and setting the stage for a positive and relaxed meeting with the employee will ease the tension of this sometimes-difficult task. The bottom line on any performance review is fairness to your employees. By treating them with equal objectivity, you can be comfortable that you are accomplishing a positive result, which will lead to personal growth and employee development.