How would you feel if you were performing to the best of your ability, but had no idea you weren’t hitting the mark? As an entrepreneur, you are probably consistently analyzing your performance. From seeing how many sales you’ve gotten for the month to tracking your referrals, you have a variety of ways to know if you are successful.

However, while you may have consistent reminders of your progress, your employees do not, and contrary to popular belief, they want to. Ninety-six percent of employees in a recent study said that regular feedback was a good thing. In fact, the absence of it can even push employees to quit. Twenty-four percent of workers consider leaving their job if their managers provide inadequate performance feedback.

These statistics hit on the fact that most employees want to do well, and they want to know if they aren’t so they can fix it. So, how do you optimize the performance review process to get the most out of your team? Read on for our tips:

Make Reviews and Recognition a Regular Process

performance reviewAs mentioned earlier, employees like regular feedback, and it makes absolute sense. How would it feel to find out your performance hasn’t been up to par, and that if you notified much sooner, you could have changed your tactic or tried a new approach? Regular feedback doesn’t always have to be a formal sit-down. It can be a weekly check-in where you ask employees how they are, provide suggestions, and listen to the feedback they have about processes and projects.

Focus More on Improvement Than Evaluation

Ultimately, you want to give employees feedback that helps them to improve and get better. So, take on the role of coach and help to guide them to the performance that you are seeking. For example, instead of just providing them with their performance metrics, talk with employees about suggestions, and offer them with the feedback and tools they need to meet business goals.

Get Rid of Tension by Framing the Performance Review as a Two-Way Conversation

Performance reviews can bring a lot of stress and apprehension to employees. Hopefully, if you are having regular check-ins and conversations with employees about their performance than the information shared during the review shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. 

However, make sure that you extinguish any anxiety of this review by ensuring that this is a two-way conversation. Employees are more than welcome to come with their own questions, feedback, and suggestions. You both are partners in their growth and success, and labeling this process as more of a “conversation” than evaluation can set the right tone for this event.

Gain Insight into What They Have Accomplished

It is hard to know what all employees are doing in a day. Especially in a start-up or smaller company, employees may be wearing many hats. As a result, they could have spearheaded an initiative or improved upon a process, and their work may not have been documented. 

performance reviewSo, be sure to remind employees to keep track of all projects and operations they are in involved in.  Also, speak to direct managers for additional information about employee accomplishments. This step will allow you to get a clearer picture of what they do daily, and give you a higher perspective into how they are—or are not— meeting business goals.

Tell Them What You Want to Talk About Ahead of Time

If there are specific things you want to talk about concerning their performance, give them a heads-up. If you wish to discuss a particular project, review individual pieces of data, or have specific questions about their work, it will optimize your time together if you share this information ahead of time. They can prepare the information you need, print out documents, and be ready to answer the questions you have for them.

Discuss Their Ambitions

While you want to discuss how they can meet and exceed business goals, you want to make sure that they also know that you want them to excel professionally. So, use this time to ask what their own professional goals are and what they want to get out of the position. From there, you can work with them to set their own goals, or even find avenues for training to help them develop skills they want to improve. Showing them that you care about their professional development will deepen their loyalty, and encourage them to stay around for a while.

Final Thoughts

Performance reviews don’t have to be time-consuming processes that you and your employees dread. They can be an annual or bi-annual check-in that allows you both to partner together to set goals that are mutually beneficial for the employee and your business. If you take on the role of coach and regularly check-in with your team members individually, then the performance review process can complement your growth and improvement strategies.


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