5 Tips to Make Performance Reviews More Productive

Posted by April Parks, M.S. Conflict Management

Jul 16, 2014 1:47:00 PM

Have you ever heard anyone say that they were looking forward to their employee evaluation? Yeah, neither have I. It’s just one of those things that always seem to be dreaded. I don’t think anyone would describe employee reviews as fun, but in all reality, they can be quite effective when conducted correctly. In fact, employee performance reviews can increase morale and productivity and boost employee performance.

performance review


Here are 5 simple tips that will make performance reviews more productive for both the employee and the company:

  1. Managers and employees both should be prepared for the review. If a manager does a review on the whim, it is likely they had no time to really reflect and give thought to the employee’s performance. Employees can prepare for the review too. By taking time for self-reflection and being truly honest with oneself, employees can present their workplace goals and their personal goals for the company without being put on the spot during the review.
  2. Avoid the “Recency Effect.” A term used in psychology, in this regard it means that managers are only speaking to the employees’ most recent accomplishments or failures. Good reviews put value on all the efforts of the employee. Managers can’t expect much to come from a review when the discussion is only about what the employee did or did not do last week. That’s a waste of everyone’s time. So make sure to look at all the employees’ successes and efforts since their last review.
  3. Don’t be vague. This goes hand in hand with preparation. You know the topics you want to discuss so make sure to do so in detail. Provide employees with actual feedback, not comments such as “Great job this quarter.” That’s too vague; it provides employees with no real knowledge of what is going well and what might need some work. Managers should praise their efforts and strengths and give them pointers on overcoming areas of weakness. Give specific examples of times when employees performed well. It will make them feel accomplished and valued. 
  4. Encourage discussion! A performance review shouldn’t be a one-sided conversation. Reassure employees that their voice is important, especially when it comes to their career. Get input from them about where they want to be this time next year and what steps to take in order to get there. Don’t assign employees goals; rather, help them to see how they can achieve their goals in the company through succession planning. Giving them input on their goals will increase their morale, performance, and productivity.
  5. Always follow-up. Even when the evaluation is completed, the work doesn’t stop there. In order to stay on track with goals there needs to be consistent follow-up and communication with the manager and employee. Managers, if you make it a priority to coach your talent, everything else (process improvement, project completion, etc.) will fall into place. To ensure that goals are being met, managers must check-in with employees from time to time. If you don’t do this simple step the entire performance review is irrelevant and a waste of time.

Although it happens quite often, employees shouldn’t be scared of a performance review. When managers are in constant contact with their team and know the efforts contributed by everyone, what happens in the review should be no surprise! Just remember these 5 tips to ensure performance reviews are productive for both the employee and the company. After all, company success is the main goal and the company’s success depends on the employees’ successes! 


Performance Management