HR Strategy

3 Mistakes Managers Make During Performance Reviews (And How to Fix Them)

By

Brad Taylor

| Mar 29, 2017

3 Mistakes Managers Make During Performance Reviews (And How to Fix Them)

Are you and your employees prepared for their annual performance reviews? While every organization approaches performance reviews differently, one commonality remains the same: Performance reviews are an important part of the employer’s role.

3 Tips for Your Next Performance Review 

The approach your managers take to this conversation will set the tone for employees’ performance and engagement. Here are three mistakes – and pro-tips on how to avoid them – you might consider sharing with your managers as they prepare to give performance reviews:

1. Failing to Plan vs. Creating an Agenda

Not giving structure or guidelines at the beginning of the review will leave the employee confused, stressed and possibly feeling like a failure. Your managers could then just wing it, which could send a signal to the employee that the performance review isn’t serious. In addition, an unstructured review leads to missed opportunities to set expectations, set goals and discuss missed goals.

Instead, give the employee an outline of how the performance review will be conducted, share the review format and ensure he or she understands the expectation of their self-evaluation. Without expectation, the employee is less likely to succeed, but with clear direction and communication, the employee has a better chance of higher performance.

2. Avoiding the Issue vs. Following Up

Managers are busy with meetings, have looming deadlines, and juggle multiple projects and employees. Taking extra time to document every performance gap and identify areas of improvement for immediate correction interrupts the daily hustle. So while it may seem easier to wait a week and postpone communication until the performance review, putting off the much-needed conversation can leave issues unresolved, and cause situations to go from bad to worse.

 To avoid this, encourage your managers to follow up with their employees immediately when correction is needed. The employee should never hear about an ongoing issue for the first time during his or her review. Also, employees shouldn’t be evaluated just on their most recent performance. Ask your managers to have weekly, bi-weekly or monthly one-on-one meetings to formally discuss areas of strength and those that need improvement. 

3. Only Discussing the Failures vs. Providing Positive Praise

What happens when the conversation starts off on the wrong foot or takes a wrong turn? Your managers came prepared, but only brought a list of missed opportunities (saved from all year). If the manager does all the talking, the communication becomes one-sided, and the employee will not – and cannot – contribute. Now, the manager is left scolding the employee for his or her wrongs. That employee will leave the performance review feeling inadequate and discouraged.

 Instead, coach your managers to open the conversation with praise on the employee’s accomplishments, so that the employee understands the contribution he or she makes doesn’t go unnoticed. Remember, the delivery of a performance review sets the tone of the conversation. Ensure your managers are specific and genuine regarding accomplishments. As a result, the employee will find the review rewarding.

A good performance review should leave the employee inspired to set and meet higher goals and feel appreciated for his or her accomplishments. Remember: have a set agenda, follow up is important, give praise, communicate constructive feedback and set new goals in the next performance review.

About the Author

Brad Taylor

As Vice President of Product Management, Brad Taylor currently manages a team dedicated to the continuous improvement of Paycom’s single-application solution and product innovation. In his nearly two decades at Paycom, he previously served in six roles, including Vice President of Client Relations and Vice President of Sales. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Brad is an avid OU football fan and enjoys spending time with his wife and children.

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