Performance reviews are regarded as a valuable process by 77% of employees, according to a recent survey by OfficeTeam, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based staffing service firm. Additionally, when asked, "How valuable is the feedback you receive during performance reviews?" 40% say performance reviews are "very valuable," 37% say "somewhat valuable" and only 8% say performance reviews are "not valuable at all." "For many employees, formal reviews provide the only opportunity to gain specific feedback on their performance," says Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam. "The extent to which both managers and employees prepare for these meetings can have a substantial impact on their value as a motivational tool." Indeed, preparation is key to achieving a productive performance review. To avoid common pitfalls, Domeyer suggests:
- Don't save it all up. Don't wait until the performance review to share compliments and criticism. Offering feedback throughout the year will inspire stronger performance.
- Don't wing it. Instead, prepare in advance for meetings with employees.
- Don't fail to consult others. If team members work regularly with people in other departments, tap them for additional feedback prior to the review.
- Don't keep employees in the dark. Nothing in the performance review should come as a surprise to employees. Let them know what will be discussed and how much time to put aside for the meeting. Also let them know how you want them to prepare for the meeting.
- Do follow through. Make sure you and your employees reach agreements on key objectives for the coming year, and establish checkpoints to assess their progress in the months ahead.