There are some things in life that are painful that you just can't avoid: Paying taxes. Rejection. Earworms (those terrible songs that get stuck in your head for hours on end).
Some people feel the same way about performance reviews. But annual reviews don't have to be painful! Sure, they may never make your list of favorite things to do, but there are ways to make the process easier and valuable for everyone.
An orchestra doesn't just walk on stage and start playing beautiful music. Orchestra members need to tune up and know their part before they can create music together. The same goes for that annual performance review discussion.
For the discussion to be productive, this meeting requires a lot of preparation by both managers and employees.
The manager's role
As a Manager, you are responsible for conducting the reviews control the date, time and location, you also help set the tone of the meeting. Your pre-meeting checklist should include the following steps:
- Collect feedback from employee's peers and clients.
- Review last year's performance appraisal.
- Review last year's development plans.
- Rate the employee's demonstration of competencies.
- Align individual goals with corporate objectives.
During the meeting, you should try to set a comfortable environment to review and discuss the employee's overall performance, goals for the year, and career aspirations. And be sure to leave time for your employees to share their reflections on their performance over the past year.
The employee's role
Employees...your manager can't do this alone. As an employee you can help make performance reviews easier by completing you own checklist:
- Gather any reports you've created on your performance.
- Review your last appraisal and the feedback you received.
- Prepare a list of your accomplishments.
- Note any training or development activities you completed.
- Draft your goals for the year.
It's important for you to come to your performance review with an open mind. Getting defensive won't solve anything, but listening to constructive criticism - and praise - can help move your career forward. That's music to any employee's ears!
Don't wait until the end of the year to discuss performance!
And most important for everyone involved to understand: best practice performance reviews don't just take place once a year. Managers and employees meet at regular intervals throughout the year. Doing so not only ensures there are no surprises during the annual performance review meeting, it ensures you both have an accurate picture of successes and challenges in reaching goals, and allows you to proactively discuss development needs or career development goals.
Creating a great checklist and sticking to it can make surviving performance review season a lot easier. The only thing checklists can't do is help with earworms. You're on your own with those.
Want more best practice tips and ready-made checklists to help you prepare for your next performance review? Download the Performance Management Survival Kit.
Your Turn: What's on your performance review checklist?