So you’ve done it. You’ve spent the past year working closely with your team, giving them feedback and working towards long term goals. You’ve documented that feedback and have specific, concrete examples of what your team does well and what they can do to improve. You have feedback from peer reviews and each employee’s self appraisal. With a clear picture of performance this year, you feel good about the appraisals you’ve put together. They are fair, firm and consistent.
Now, you have to go over the reviews with each member of your team. Those can be tough conversations. Even when you’ve done the work and have an accurate picture of each employee’s performance, it can be tricky to convey clearly.
However, there are a few steps you can take to prepare for these conversations and ensure your team gets the most out of their performance reviews.
For each of your direct reports ask, “What do I want for him/ her? What do I want for us?”
You have a lot of specific feedback for each employee. Taking a step back to understand exactly you want from these conversations will help you see the bigger picture rather than getting bogged down in the details.
Determine how you should behave to get your intended result
It could be firm and serious. It could be light and congratulatory. But your tone matters, and determining what tone to strike before starting the conversation is important prep.
Start the conversation with a reminder of why we run performance reviews
These reasons are of course unique to your organization, but common reasons include fairness, transparency and a commitment to employee growth. Employees deserve to have a company that is invested in their development, and this kind of feedback is exactly that – a time to touch base, give open feedback, commit to candor and grow together.
Re-state good vs great
Hopefully your team already knows what good vs great looks like and that distinction is built into your rating scales. However, this is a good time to remind folks of the competencies, benchmarks and behaviors that distinguish your best employees.
State your positive agenda
You want the best for your employees. You know what you want from this conversation. Start the conversation by stating your positive agenda clearly
Start the review with what’s going well
Consider breaking down each section into STAR feedback. Start with a specific situation. Then explain exactly what your employee did well and take the time to explain the impact of their actions on the broader team or organization. Thankfully, you’ve been documenting this feedback throughout the year, so pulling these examples should be a breeze.
Tackle what needs to be improved
Again, consider using the STAR system to ensure employees have specific, concrete examples of what they need to improve and understand the broader context for why improvement is important. Including tangible ways the employee can improve and guidelines or timelines to work on the topics raised in the appraisal help make these conversations impactful and actionable. For a few more tips on delivering tough feedback, check out this article on the topic.
With fair, accurate reviews and the right preparation, your team can get the most out of performance reviews. If you have other strategies for conversations around performance reviews, let us know! If you’d like to learn more about how Trakstar can help you build the processes and content to make your reviews impactful, actiontionable and efficient, we’re always here to chat.