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Upcoming performance review? How’s how to get the most out of it

Performance reviews are commonly seen as inconveniences. But they can provide value. Here’s how to ensure they provide year-round value.

Upcoming performance review? How’s how to get the most out of it
[Photo: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images]

Summer holidays are coming to an end, and it’s time to get back to it. Chances are you completed a mid-year performance review before your break, but there are probably great learnings you can use to help catch back up to speed. Mid-year performance reviews offer you the chance to sit down with your team members, reflect, and have an honest conversation about how and where things are going. We know these periodic opportunities can bring up a useful wealth of information. But what can be done with all of the data gathered? And how can it help you and your team progress?

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A mid-year review shouldn’t just be seen as something that appeases HR and can then be long forgotten. When done right and followed up correctly, they can support growth and performance for the entire team and set the tone for the remainder of the year. As a manager, it’s important to establish a working environment that promotes growth in all of your team members, including yourself. Here, we outline some best practices to ensure your mid-year performance reviews provide year-round value.

Stay connected

It’s important to follow up with a face-to-face conversation, especially if you do your reviews electronically. A lack of efficient conversation leads to an all-too-common misalignment between managers and team members. Sitting down face to face is a good way to add value to feedback by clearing up ambiguities and ensuring the entire team goes into the second half of the year feeling clear, motivated, and ready to achieve their goals.

Post-review meetings are not only a chance for you to elaborate on the feedback you have provided, they are also a great opportunity for team members to discuss any upward feedback they have given, allowing you to further gauge how they perceive you as a manager and how you can improve and support them moving forward. Research from Gallup found that only 8% of managers currently believe that the performance reviews they receive inspire them to improve. Ensuring appropriate follow-ups take place is a key factor in ensuring that this changes.

Set actionable goals

Conversation is valuable, but actions are what will ultimately change the course for you, your employees, and your business. A good rule of thumb during follow-up meetings is to use feedback to firmly establish two or three things that are going well and two or three areas that have room for improvement

Once you’ve settled on the things that need working on, you can use them to develop personalized, actionable, and realistic goals for each team member. Research shows that when specific, challenging goals are set, it consistently leads to higher performance than when people are simply asked to improve or “do their best.”

Once these goals are set, you can break them down into milestones. This ensures everyone is clear on their next steps, makes it easier to track progress, and ensures more useful discussion during future follow-ups. If goal setting is not something you or your team are familiar with, it can be useful to use a framework such as SMART. This ensures everyone’s goals follow the same structure, allowing for more efficient follow-up discussions.

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Keep it going

As a manager, your role doesn’t end with goal setting. It’s up to you to track and influence your team’s progress, as well as your own, helping better understand what’s going well, where things should be heading, and how to get there. After initial follow-up meetings have taken place, it’s key to ensure everybody remains on the same page. Regular check-ins are a great way to achieve this. These short, regular 1-on-1 meetings ensure that everyone is clear, on track, and actively working toward their goals. Simplicity, consistency, and timeliness ensure for the most successful check-in. These conversations don’t have to be formal. They can easily be scheduled into 15- or 30-minute slots, done over coffee, or made a weekly or bimonthly practice to really foster an environment where feedback is ingrained into everyday practices.

Alongside these dedicated check-in chats, it’s also good practice to bring feedback into every single working day. Research shows that employees who “receive daily, meaningful feedback” from their managers are 3.5 times more likely to be engaged at work when compared to employees that receive feedback yearly or less frequently. Implementing a performance management platform for people enablement is a great way to ensure that the feedback process is ongoing and embedded into the daily workflow. It can be as simple as being sure to thank your team members for a job well done, acknowledging that someone has reached one of their milestones, or providing a quick piece of feedback on a presentation given. 

So, there you have it: the fail-safe steps to ensure that your mid-year reviews provide year-round value. Consistent, constructive, team-wide conversation that improves management-employee relationships and keeps everyone on track and achieving their goals.

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