Performance Reviews

If your company is like mine, you are in the middle of annual reviews. As a senior manager, I have read hundreds of reviews over the years. Some very good. Some very bad. I’m not talking about the employee’s performance here. I’m talking about how it was written. Do you want to write a more effective review for your employee?

1. If they “need to improve” in an area, rate it accordingly. BUT…you must give examples as to why they earned this rating. What did they specifically do that demonstrates they need to improve? What kind of coaching have you provided over the past year that they perhaps chose not to follow? You can’t just use the canned language that comes with many online review software. That’s not fair to your employee.

2. If they “exceeded” your expectations, again, you need to present why. I’ve read far too many reviews where the manager rated their employees as an exceeds but with zero supporting documentation. This can come across as playing favorites or worse, laziness on the part of the manager. Or the manager is wanting people to know they lead an “exceeds expectations” team – but that falls flat when that same manager receives a “meets” or “needs” on his/her review.

3. Point out past success, recognitions, awards, etc. Any of us like to read/hear about those instances. It was good the first time. It will be good the second time around.

4. If they need to improve, spell out what they need to do to turn their ship around. Explain what how you will also be invested in their development. This will build accountability into your coaching sessions.

5. Give them a goal to stretch for in the future. Plateaus are ok for a bit. But your job is to challenge, develop and stretch your team. Your results will rise if you do.

6. Show them the purpose in their daily work. Make sure they understand that what they do makes a difference. If it doesn’t, should they still be doing it?

Build a strong team. Spend quality time creating and presenting quality reviews. Your team will be the better for it.

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