Employee reviews require a thoughtful balance. They shouldn’t be avoided, rushed, or off-the-cuff. They deserve proper attention, care, and preparation in order to be most effective while maintaining respect and decorum between managers and individuals. Reviews are a valuable tool for performance enhancement, engagement, and productivity, but they can also serve to strengthen relationships and develop employee skills and rapport.

A common problem with reviews, however, is that many managers are unprepared or lack proper training to hold productive and meaningful review conversations. One in five employees are not confident their manager will provide regular, constructive feedback, and nearly 95% of managers feel dissatisfied by conducting formal performance appraisals.

Need help ensuring your end of year #PerformanceReviews are productive and meaningful? @ClearCompany knows how to do it:

So how do you make something so necessary to employee development relevant once again? Below we’ve compiled some helpful tips to make performance reviews more collaborative and yield better results:

Ask Questions to Solicit Feedback

It’s vital to remember effective employee reviews aren’t just given to employees; reviews are something leaders and employees do together. A two-way dialogue is a must. The traditional one-sided review is no longer effective. They don’t allow opportunities for managers to grow and learn themselves through employee feedback, they don’t empower employees to voice their concerns or needs, and they discourage collaborative dialogue and relationship-building. In fact, 40% of employees dislike employee reviews because they only represent a single point of view.

Implementing peer and 360-degree reviews offer managers a better view of employee performance, and individuals can feel like they’re being more accurately represented. The objective of collecting 360-degree feedback is to give the employee the opportunity to understand how their work is viewed within the total organization, and to give the manager the opportunity to see how the rest of the team perceives their level of contribution.

The 360 review is different from an employee appraisal — which traditionally provides the employee with the opinion of his or her performance as viewed by their manager. Appraisals such as this tend to be singularly focused on goal progress: What’s been achieved since the previous appraisal? A 360 review focuses on how the employee affected and contributed to the work of others. It helps contextualize skills and contributions more directly and practically.

BONUS RESOURCE: We’ve created a useful flowchart to help you get the two-way conversation going! Download a copy of it here.

Instead of simply checking employee reviews off of your Thursday to-do list, ask these questions from 2020 IT Leader founder, Anthony Vigneron, which are aimed at soliciting feedback that managers can actually use.

  1. What’s one key strength you think I should leverage more in my role?

  2. What’s one thing I can do to help us be more effective in reaching our goals?

  3. What’s one thing you liked and one thing you thought could be improved?

  4. What’s one thing I can do to better support you in your role?

  5. Name one thing we can do to make our meetings more efficient?

  6. What’s the one thing you like most about your job? What’s the one thing you like least?

Step Inside Our Best Practices Library:

The ClearCompany Best Practices library has an entire section about performance management with key expert advice, toolkits, and downloadable resources you can build into your very own performance strategy. Having standardized practices for the way you structure, strategize, and steer your performance reviews will help create a more meaningful process that results in actionable and measurable outcomes which guide employee performance in a way that aligns with greater organizational objectives.

Head over to the performance section for more insight into improving your review process and more.

Conversion Process

Questions to Gauge and Establish Alignment

Reviews shouldn’t just be a time for managers to gather performance information and dole out a rating. While this is part of a process in which you can find the areas where your team needs to place more focus, more importantly, managers should look for key signs to tell them what they can do to help facilitate improvement in these areas. According to Gallup, only 14% of employees believe their performance reviews actually inspire them to improve.

Steer clear of surface questions that require a simple yes or no, you won’t learn much with those. Instead, ask questions that will grant you real insights into your workforce, and how you can become a more effective facilitator of their success. You can start by asking:

  1. Can you please explain to me what you believe the company goals, vision and strategy are?

  2. Do you understand your personal role in the company goals, vision and strategy?

  3. What are your personal and/or professional goals?

  4. What are your strongest motivators to come to work everyday?

  5. Name some things that de-motivate you about your position.

  6. Do you understand why we use the processes and practices in place?

  7. What would you change about those processes and practices?

Read More on Aligning Goals with these 7 Best Practices

These questions will not only grant leaders insights on their workforce’s current state of alignment, but they simultaneously establish the opportunity to create transparency by discovering the answers to each of these questions together.

The top 3 emotions associated with inaccurate reviews are frustration, anxiety and boredom. People also commonly find them to be demeaning, and a poor indicator of performance. We can’t stress enough, that this leadership necessity, also known as employee reviews, doesn’t have to be a negative experience!

Read More: 5 Quick Tips on Giving Better Performance Reviews

Vigneron believes that the first step in conducting effective employee reviews is to, “make the choice to live with your hands off of your ears.” We’re not talking about a checklist item, or a one-sided appraisal of the state of your workforce. We’re talking about true engagement, emotional intelligence at work and performance management that actually makes a difference.

Would you like to know more about improving your 360, peer-to-peer, employee reviews? Performance management software can help streamline your performance appraisal process.

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More On Performance Management Software

You should consider investing in performance management software if:

  1. Employees complain about your current performance system or process
  2. Your HR team spends a lot of time organizing performance paperwork and knocking on doors to track down completed reviews
  3. You have a manual process that involves printed documents and excel spreadsheets
  4. You’re experiencing low employee engagement and/or high turnover rates
  5. Too many employees miss goals, deadlines or cannot consistently meet KPIs
  6. You are concerned that your current process leaves room for risk when deciding on promotions, compensation plans or terminating an employee

Look for a Performance Management System That Offers:

  • Traditional Reviews
  • Peer & 360 Reviews
  • Time-based Reviews
  • Completion Tracking
  • Fully Customizable
  • Continuous Performance Tracking
  • Real-time Feedback
  • Employee-Friendly
  • Quality of Hire
  • Predictive Performance
  • Comprehensive Dashboard
  • 9-Box Reporting
  • Employee Development
How do you make #PerformanceReviews a conversation that makes a real difference to employees? Discover what @ClearCompany says you should be doing:

Performance Management Key Features Include:

Easily-Navigated Dashboard

The top advantage to performance management tools are their ability to bring all key data and performance into one organized location. Award-winning performance management tools do that. They make it easy to navigate the data and information and help leaders make better decisions for their workforce. Meanwhile, employees can receive real-time feedback from their own dashboard.

Performance Review Cycles

Traditional annual review cycle or not, performance management software can help coordinate, organize, schedule and store review information. The software will send reminders to leaders, manage permissions as leadership changes and provide structure to the overall process, including scripts based on company values and the employee’s role.

360 Degree and Peer Reviews

The power of peer feedback and 360 degree reviews can be exponentially rewarding if performed correctly. Performance management software can help ensure the process goes smoothly by providing structured and anonymous assessments. In some cases, there might be more than a few people involved in the performance review of one employee, so the software can track the progress of feedback to ensure each manager or leader has provided necessary input in a timely manner.

Customizable Review and Assessment Scripts

It is best practice to base performance on the unique values and goals of your organization, which means the annual review script should be different for a manager than it is for an executive, and nothing like the script of another organization. One size doesn’t fit all, so the software should come with customizable scripts, scales and sections so that your performance management process fits the needs of your workforce, not vice versa.

Goal and Performance Tracking

Continuous performance and goal tracking allows leadership to see the progress of projects clearly while keeping in mind which employees are hitting the mark and which need guidance. And because it’s available to the employee as well, everyone will be on the same page and aligned to the work being done, even between departments in real-time.

Employee Recognition & Engagement

Performance management software should have social engagement and recognition tools that are easy-to-use, promote teamwork, boost employee engagement, facilitate peer appreciation, and foster a positive workplace culture.

With features like Celebrations & Shout Outs, managers can modernize how companies celebrate and share employees’ personal milestones — birthdays, work anniversaries, new hire welcomes — and allow coworkers to publicly recognize peers who have done a great job or went above and beyond. These messages immediately appear on the company news feed, and social sharing tools let co-workers chime in to amplify the message and keep the shout outs coming.

Giving shout outs or celebrating success — no matter how small — is simple but effective. They promote teamwork, collaboration, and strengthen relationships between coworkers, but they can also a significant morale booster. According to a survey, 37% of employees consider recognition to be the most important thing a manager or a company could do to help the employee be successful. Recognition leads to increased motivation, a sense of pride, and increased self-confidence at work, which in turn boosts initiative and their willingness to take responsibility for their work.

Learn more about performance management software and how it can bolster employee performance for better business outcomes across the board! Sign up to speak with a performance management expert on our team to discuss your existing strategy and how leveraging the right performance management system can improve your entire organization.

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Meredith Wholley
Meredith Wholley
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As a Marketing and Event Manager, Meredith coordinates best-practice content and brand-awareness events for ClearCompany. With her career in HR tech, Meredith works closely with HR practitioners and is passionate about providing them with the tools and information they need to succeed.

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