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Definition of Performance Review:

Performance review is a formal, two-way conversation between a manager and an employee about the employee’s job performance. Here, there’s a detailed assessment of the employee’s achievements, wherein the manager identifies their strengths and weaknesses, offers feedback, and helps develop a roadmap for their career. 

Also called as performance appraisals or performance evaluations, these were earlier conducted yearly. However, companies are increasingly adopting a monthly or a weekly review frequency, which has become a lot more informal. 

With Performance reviews, employees have more clarity about their job. They know whether they are performing well, and know where they need to improve, and how their goals align with the larger company goals. 

Managers use performance reviews to recognise top performers, course correct them, communicate their expectations, and help with their career development. 


Things to keep in mind for an effective Performance Review:

Performance reviews can make or mar employee performance. When done right, it can motivate employees to perform to their best ability. If done poorly, employees will feel unheard, and can it spiral down to poor performance. As a result, it is important to keep in mind the following things before conducting a performance review:

  • Conduct Performance Reviews frequently. Go beyond the traditional annual reviews. It is impossible to track an employee’s performance and assess them in a day’s time. It has to be a continuous process where you give time appreciation, feedback and course correction. When managers regularly meet their employees, they are already aware of how the employee is doing, eliminating the need for long reviews. 

  • Encourage a two-way conversation. Performance reviews are not monologues where the manager conveys their viewpoints. Both the employee and the manager need to be invested in this conversation. It need not be about the employee performance all the time. The discussion can be about goals alignment, peer or customer feedback, career growth, personal development and so on. 

  • While traditionally, performance reviews were about the employees’ past performance. With frequent performance reviews, it gives a chance to look into the future as well. Employees get a chance to learn from their mistakes, and an opportunity to prove themselves immediately. They need not wait for another year to get a chance at redemption. 

  • Performance reviews have to be backed by data. It is no longer about the manager’s opinion on the performance. It is about the employees’ goals, 360 degree reviews, their achievements, one-on-one reviews, and career progression.

  • Provide a safe space for the employees to speak their interests, pain points and plans for the future. Encourage them to discuss, come with notes, and give an honest, unbiased self evaluation, so that you can help them grow. 

Tips for conducting Performance Reviews:

Before conducting performance reviews, here are some tips for managers:

  • Ensure that there’s alignment between the performance review criteria and the employee’s goals. 
  • Discuss with the HR if need be and check if the company has a performance review format. 
  • Set the right time and place for performance review.
  • Do the research beforehand and prepare notes for the meeting. 
  •  Ensure that you convey your expectations with the employee and be prepared to do goals setting with the employee. 

Things Managers should not to say in Performance Reviews:

  • Comparisons. Avoid comparisons at all costs. No two people are the same, neither are their strengths and weaknesses. Look into their past performance, and not with another employee. 
  • Having no feedback. No matter how well an employee performs, they are looking for ways to improve. Constructive criticism can help them move in the right direction. Failing to do so will make them feel like their work doesn’t matter. 
  • Do not rush the meeting. This is a place where your employees can discuss their goals and are looking for feedback. By rushing them to complete the meeting will make them feel unimportant and is a sure shot way to mar your performance review. 
  • Do not use blanket terms like ‘Always’ and ‘ Never’. It doesn’t give people a scope to explain or improve themselves. 
  • Making promises you can’t keep. Do not promise promotions or make it seem that perks come ‘only if’ they do something. After all, it is impossible to predict how the future will look.