5 ways to implement effective performance reviews

by L&D22 Apr 2016
Performance appraisal meetings are among the most dreaded events on the business calendar, according to Karen Gately, HR and people management specialist, and author of the book, The People Manager’s Toolkit.   
 
Lots of managers and staff believe it’s little more than an imposed process that causes stress and, at times, conflicts, she added. 
 
“For many of the managers I meet, facilitating performance appraisals is among the most challenging aspects of being a people leader,” she said. 
 
“The most important question you need to ask yourself is whether the performance appraisal meetings you facilitate add value and enable your team to be more successful.”
 
Gately added that the quality of outcomes you are able to achieve are a reflection of both the approach you take and how well you are able to respond to reactions, questions or challenge from the person being appraised. 
 
According to Gately, the five most important things you need to do as a manager to drive an effective performance review are to:
  1. Be respectful
Regardless of how they have performed, everyone deserve to be treated with respect. The way you communicate during reviews has an impact on the trust people have in you and ultimately your ability to influence their performance and engagement.
  1. Be Fair
Make sure you are consistent in how you appraise the performance of every member of your team. It’s critical that you avoid favouritism, leniency and inequitably harsh judgment. Make sure you listen to feedback you receive about obstacles and challenges and make fair compensations.
  1. No surprises
There is no reason that justifies waiting until a review and taking someone by surprise. Performance management is an ongoing process and it’s reasonable for people to expect that if something needs to change you will tell them along the way. It's unfair to hold someone accountable for something they didn’t know needed to be done differently.
  1. Consider more than your own perspective
You should approach every review with an open mind and willingness to shift your perceptions if new and valuable insights are offered. To help people accept your final decisions, it’s important that you encourage them to participate in their own review and then consider their perspective before crystallising your own decisions.
  1. Be courageous
Never back away from your responsibility to provide honest feedback. While constructive feedback can be difficult to deliver, it's a manager’s job to help their team succeed by giving them honest insight to how they are performing. Never allow push back to readily influence your decisions. Don't let being challenged undermine your commitment to giving appraisals that are accurate reflections of both outcomes and behavioural standards achieved.
 
Related:

3 ways L&D professionals can make mistakes giving feedback 

Four ways to deal with learners resistant to feedback 

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