12 Useful Performance Review Tips for Managers This Year

Man talking to boss during performance review

As 2022 comes to a close, it’s essential to think about performance reviews and what they entail. Many companies are already beginning to change how performance reviews are conducted by managers to benefit employees, managers themselves, and the company as a whole. This article will discuss some of the most helpful performance review tips for managers in 2022 and into 2023.

What is a performance review?

Reviews are a way to measure the performance of an employee or business over time—typically one year or from when someone starts with a company through the end of the year. And they assess how well someone has met their objectives and goals during that time.

These review meetings can be conducted by managers, supervisors, or other employees who have authority within an organization.

The performance review process is also known as performance appraisal or an employee performance review.

What is the purpose of a performance review for managers?

The primary purpose of a performance review is to provide feedback to employees on their performance—both good and bad.

It’s also a great way to evaluate where employees stand at work on an ongoing basis. It’s also an opportunity to give overall feedback to employee. This includes letting them know where they are excelling and where they can improve.

Performance reviews can help an organization see if an employee is:

  • Meeting the standards of the team and company
  • Expanding their skillsets and knowledge bases
  • Working a job they want to work
  • Along the right path in their career path
  • In need of a promotion or salary increase

How performance reviews impact the company’s success

Employees need to be regularly evaluated to maintain a high level of productivity and quality.

Regular performance evaluations to assess an employee’s performance help employers ensure their employees meet the company’s standards, produce quality work, and are helping the company grow.

Employees need to be aware of what is expected from them year round, and when they do, performance reviews provide how they’re doing with those expectations. Additionally, regular evaluations help identify any areas that may require improvement. This information can then be used by the company to ensure that they meet their profitability and growth goals.

Self evaluations are vital for career growth. Here is how to write one

12 Useful tips for managers conducting performance reviews

Now that you know the basics of performance reviews, here are some performance review tips for managers.

Make sure job expectations were known well beforehand

It’s difficult to review an employee’s performance if they don’t know what the expectations are from the beginning. These expectations might come from:

  • Clearly defined goals with the employees
  • Previous conversations about what the employee needs to accomplish over a period of time
  • Accomplishing tasks and duties defined in a job description

Once those expectations are clearly spelled out, you can measure an employee’s performance against them.

If you haven’t set clear expectations with an employee, your performance review with them can touch on that subject, but it may be a less helpful conversation. We’ll talk more on setting expectations for the year in a bit.

Note your adaptability and flexibility during challenging situations

Things happen in life and work that prevent goals from being accomplish. Be sure to note adaptability and flexibility are taken into account during reviews.

This is certainly not accepting any excuse or reason why someone didn’t hit their expected performance metrics. But if an employee had a life event, or an big event happened to society (think: COVID-19), we all respond to those challenges differently. Be open-minded with your review by taking these sorts of things into account.

Stay positive

It’s important to stay positive during feedback sessions. That doesn’t mean you only need to say good things. This means having a positive approach when talking with employees, not expressing a doom-and-gloom attitude over any poor performance, and being willing to help and provide solutions.

It’s natural that you may need to have tough conversations within performance reviews. If an employee isn’t performing up to the company’s standard, you need to get that across. But don’t enter the review with only negative intentions. Help provide paths to a solution for performance misses (if there are any).

Stay engaged

It’s important to stay engaged during your performance review. Don’t reply to or send emails while talking to your employee. Really listen to what they have to say about how they felt they’ve done and how you’ve done as a leader.

This is one of the few times per year most employees get to take a step back and analyze what they’ve accomplished (or not accomplished). Outside of one-on-one meetings, a performance review gives employees that time of reflection. Give them the respect they deserve by staying engaged in the conversation and being prepared to discuss any concerns or success in depth.

Check-in periodically throughout the year

While yearly performance reviews are a great way to analyze performance across an entire year, it’s a good idea to periodically check in with your employees to make sure they are on track to hit those yearly performance metrics.

Perhaps you’ll find an employee is struggling with resources and burnout in the second quarter of the year. That gives you time as a leader to help that employee get the resources they need or adjust expectations if that’s not possible.

Monthly or quarterly check-ins on overall goals are a great way to improve the annual performance review process.

Detail what an employee’s strengths and weaknesses are

Start by offering an employee’s strengths. Offer at least two or three areas (skills, leadership strengths, etc.) that reflect how you think an employee improves the organization and the team around them.

Performance reviews are a great time to talk about areas of improvement, too. Provide examples of where you noticed the deficit and offer solutions on how the employee can address is. Clearly defining opportunities for improvements for any weaknesses can play a role in goals for the following year.

Recognize your value as an employer

As an employer, you play a vital role in your employees’ career growth. Performance reviews are a good time to assess how they feel they are doing on that career path and if their yearly goals help get them where they feel they need to be professionally.

Along with talking about goals that help improve the team and company, you can talk about how they’ve done with progressing themselves.

Ask other managers/leaders what their experiences are with the employee

Your co-workers can be a valuable resource when it comes to preparing for your performance review. There inevitably will be people outside of your team (members of other teams, outside vendors, customers, etc.) who have interacted and worked with your employees. Ask them for feedback on experiences with your employees.

employee signing offer letter

Be prepared to discuss any areas of improvement

It’s essential to be prepared to discuss any areas of improvement for your employees during performance reviews. (This related to being open about weaknesses.)

If things didn’t go according to plan, be honest and transparent about what went wrong and why. This will help your staffer understand where there may have been some errors in judgment or execution so they can come up with solutions to prevent it from happening again.

It’s important to be proactive when it comes to addressing areas of improvement during your performance review discussions. These improvements won’t come overnight, but you can track how employees have taken steps to improve over the following year.

Open the floor for any questions or concerns the employee has

Always be prepared to give your employee time to ask questions about your role, about their own performance, about the company’s goals, and more. If you don’t know an answer, note down the question and tell the employee you’ll get back to them. It’s not always easy for an employee asks you a question—especially about their own performance. Make sure you’re answering these questions honestly and respectfully.

Ask for feedback on how you are as an employer

Performance reviews can be a two-way street. Ask your employees how they feel about you as a leader. These can be done anonymously or by a third party to avoid any conflict or worry of retribution from an employee. Use the performance review period to see how you are doing as a manager and if there are any tips or suggestions employees have for you.

Prepare goals for next year

After you’ve talked about the previous year, it’s time to prep for the next year.

Set individual goals with your employee once the review is done. (You can also set team and company goals, but performance review times are best left for individual expectations.) If last year’s goals turned out to be too lofty, set goals that are more attainable. If the goals were light, set more ambitious ones.

This is also a great time to set professional goals alongside your employee. Do they want to practice leadership skills? Set goals for putting them in situations where they can grow in that area.

If you didn’t have any concrete, measurable goals for the previous year, performance review time is a great opportunity to nip that practice in the bud.

Performance Reviews are Key to Growth

These performance review tips for managers will guide your steps towards an effective meeting with your employees. They will also help them understand strengths and weaknesses, areas to improve, their value to the company, and much more.

Employees will need to know how they are doing with their own growth if they want to feel part of the company’s overall goals. Performance reviews are a great time to reconnect on those aspirations.

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