Empowering Women

The Annual Performance Review – Thoughts and Observations

It’s that time of year in most companies – time for the annual performance review.

Performance review methods may differ from organization to organization but there are some universal approaches that serve as a good reminder:

• Employees should never hear about positive performance or performance in need of improvement for the first time during a formal performance discussion meeting unless it is new information or insight

• Effective managers discuss both positive performance and areas for improvement on a regular basis

• In the interest of providing regular feedback, performance reviews are not an annual only event

• Developing a cadence of career development discussions are also critical elements of employee meetings

Key pieces of an employee performance review:

Goals should be clear and concise.

KPI (key performance measures) and Behavioral Competencies are typical components of an employee’s plan. It is imperative that employees know exactly what is expected of their performance. Without a written agreement and a shared picture of the employee’s goals, success is unlikely

Make how you will evaluate the employee’s performance clear.

Describe exactly what you’re looking for from the employee and exactly how you will assess the performance. Discuss with the employee her role in the evaluation process. A significant component of this evaluation discussion is to share with the employee how your organization will assess performance.

Prepare for the discussion with the employee.

Never go into a performance review without preparation. If you wing it, performance reviews fail. Practice is essential. The more you can identify and give examples, the better the employee will understand and be able to act upon the feedback. For above average performing employees and performing employees, positive feedback and discussion about how the employee can continue to grow their performance should comprise the majority of the discussion.

Don’t neglect the areas that need improvement…especially for an underperforming employee, speak directly

Some thoughts to consider:

An employee must do more than just perform to be considered an outstanding employee. Performance is table stakes – the ticket to the game. Differentiated action is what constitutes outstanding ratings – an innovative idea implemented successfully with a positive impact to the business.

Hard work does not necessarily equate to higher performance ratings. Don’t equate work effort with success or exemplary performance.

An observation for employees:

If you assess your performance above meeting expectations it is important to write up a paragraph or two about why you deserve that rating. Make sure to use objective terms and data points as supporting documentation. Data is crucial for any evaluation that involved budgets, time, or savings.

Truly take the time to assess your performance with the knowledge that achieving performance and meeting expectations is true success – employers look at the meets/achieves as measures of successful performance. With challenging performance goals and behavioral expectations – meeting expectations is a lot of hard work, effort, and innovation required.

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