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Performance Reviews

Updated: Feb 8, 2022

Hello current and future Leaders, First and foremost: I wish you a HAPPY, HEALTHY AND SUCCESSFUL NEW YEAR in 2022!

And to start the year I would like to talk about Performance Reviews as some or most of you will still be going through an annual performance review cycle. You may be using a system which you do not find very conducive to conducting effective performance reviews but remember it is never the what, it is always the how. In other words: No matter which tool, system or structure you have to use, it is the how you use it that counts.

To that end I would like to impress on you the three main points to consider when conducting performance reviews:

1 Look forward

As a team, department, company, society we want to move forward, we are planning for the future. So, what is the point of spending the bulk of a performance review meeting looking backwards and rehashing deficits from the past year? By no means should such deficits remain unaddressed, however, spending valuable time arguing about ratings is not helpful. Make performance reviews a forward-looking exercise and spend time discussing how the employee’s skillset could be best used or how it could be improved to achieve future goals.

2 No surprises

None of the feedback you are giving any of your team members should be a surprise for them as you have addressed the good and bad throughout the year. In a separate nugget I will write about feedback. One of the main points about feedback is that it should be timely, i.e. provided closely after the event. It is best practice to have feedback and one-on-one sessions on a regular basis – use them to take any surprise elements out of a once-a-year-meeting.

3 Talk less

My final point is that you as the reviewer should be doing less than 30% of the talking. Get into the habit of asking exploratory questions, like “Which of the departmental goals do you see yourself contributing to in the coming year?” and “Why?” followed by “What would be helpful for you to learn or experience to be more effective?” Learning and change are most likely to occur when an individual finds out for themselves what they need to work on.

Make the most of your company’s internal guidelines - whether or not you are bound by a tariff structure of another company-wide review system. There is always room for turning performance reviews into a positive, developmental exercise - after all isn’t this what they are for?

If you’d like further input or to talk through a potentially challenging situation reach out for support.

Find my “Management Gold – Nuggets” useful? Then let me know and share with others.

If you find this inspiring and you would like to explore further, I am delighted to meet with you for a 30-minute-free-of-charge-info-session.


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