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How to Use Performance Reviews to Become a Better Manager

Yes, it’s that time of year again—time to get ready to sit down with your employees and conduct those dreaded annual performance reviews. Do you feel like they’re a waste of time? Are they totally pointless, from your perspective? Here’s how to get more out of them—for both the employees and for yourself!

You can use performance reviews to develop your management skills, identify training needs, and build rapport with your employees. You can also gather information that will help you make decisions about raises, promotions and other actions.

You may not be ready to implement all of these tips this year, but you can still use them to help your performance reviews be more effective in the future:

  1. Give feedback all year round. Instead of waiting until January to discuss your employees’ performance, try the “When you see it, say it” approach. Make sure you spend time walking around and talking to your employees about what they’re doing, or schedule regular, short meetings to discuss progress. This way, you can deliver feedback as you go, and hopefully see faster results.
  2. Take notes. As you observe and talk to your employees throughout the year, make notes. This way, you’ll have a record of what you saw that you liked and didn’t like, and you’ll be able to support any statements or ratings that you make at a review.
  3. Be comprehensive. Be sure your performance reviews are based on updated job descriptions. You want to be accurate in providing a fair and objective assessment based on the employee’s job and goals. Your reviews should be behavioral, complete, and consistent.
  4. Make the meeting into a discussion. Rather than handing over a completed appraisal form to your employees, then reviewing them, write up a first draft. You can discuss the appraisal together, and if the employee brings a self-appraisal, you can evaluate where the two differ. You can complete the form after both you and the employee have had a chance to explain yourselves.
  5. Ask the employee to review you. As a manager, you play an important role in your employees’ performance. So ask them questions like, “What three things did I do last year to help your performance?” and “What are three things I can do to help you this year?”

By keeping track of your employees’ performance all year round and making reviews into a two-way conversation, you can make your job easier, ease the tension on both sides, and walk away with valuable information. Can you think of any performance review tips we could have included? Please share them below!