As a manager, what you communicate during a performance review carries weight. It might seem routine for you, but for your employee, the words you express can have a huge impact on future performance, attitude, and employee happiness. As a manager, you want to ensure that you’re communicating effectively and confidently. Performance reviews are important conversations to have, and we want you to make them count with these helpful tips. We’ve compiled this guide to help you be more confident the next time you initiate performance reviews.
Let’s start off with the first principle:
Principle #1: Ask for Feedback from the Employee
To make the process smoother for yourself and your employee, asking them how they have felt in the past year is a great way to get inside information that you might not have been aware of. This also ensures your conversation is a two-way street, rather than the manager simply performing a performance review. A big part of a good working relationship is open communication and approachability. If your employee feels comfortable and safe enough to openly share with you how they felt they performed, you will gain a deeper perspective on what works and what doesn’t work in your managerial style. This is an important method to use, and will help both you and your employee move forward in proactive and productive ways.
To begin, you can start by asking:
- “How are you feeling?”
- “I’d like to start by hearing your thoughts – how do you think you did this past year?”
- “How would you describe your performance this year?”
Principle #2: Be Prepared with Examples
Monitoring your employee’s behavior and performance throughout the year is an important way to ensure that you are providing accurate, thorough, and specific feedback for when they meet with you. Providing objective, measurable performance documentation is helpful for both of you to identify where improvements can be made, and where they should continue on. This can then be taken forward when it comes to discussing goals and expectations for the coming year. Having specific examples will help boost your employee’s confidence, and will also give them an appropriate context of how they can do better. It can get very busy during the work year, so to help you keep track in a seamless and easy way, consider using 360 review software to keep you up to date and on the ball throughout the year.
You can say:
- “Congratulations on achieving XYZ. That’s exceptional work – how did you accomplish this result?”
- “I noticed how you revised XYZ and strengthened it for optimal results. A job well done!”
- “There is room for improvement in XYZ, and perhaps a more systematized approach would work better.”
Principle #3: Don’t Leave It to be Only Annually
Performance reviews aren’t always the task you or your employees look forward to the most. However, with a detailed set of notes from the entire year, you might actually enjoy it. Remember that the goal with the performance review is to help both you and your employee run a smoother, more efficient, and happier workplace. Using 360 review software will help you in getting more organized. Employees need regular feedback to learn how they can improve, where they are excelling, and how they can work at their best. Having the process done annually is a tough way to summarize an entire year, so having mini check-ins throughout the year will make the annual performance review less cumbersome. Encouraging two-way conversations and an open-door policy will allow your employees to feel comfortable approaching you when things aren’t going well, and it’ll help you keep a pulse on what’s happening within your team. This way, when you meet for your annual review, both you and your employee will walk in knowing the facts and can have it go much more smoothly and quickly.
Use action words when describing their performance
Some ideas include: accelerated, conducted, improved, transitioned, accomplished, built, changed, controlled, guided, harmonized, crafted, created, designed, developed, directed, generated, organized, transformed, trained, strengthened, revised, presented, negotiated, mentored, managed, led, investigated, initiated, systematized, helped.
Managing people isn’t always smooth sailing, and it comes with many added responsibilities, including giving performance reviews. This is why it’s especially important to communicate information optimally in order to help your team grow and remain cohesive. We hope that these tips have given you ideas on what to say during performance reviews in order to lead your team to success.
Photos courtesy of the author
Guest Author Bio
Steffen is a bilingual (German/English) content writer who likes to speak his mind. He enjoys sharing his thoughts—and there are many—online through blogging and social media. To inspire readers to share their own opinions is one of his ambitions.