Taking the Pain Out of Performance Reviews

By Tom Davidson

Q. I’m a new manager, and I already hate doing performance reviews. What can I do to make performance appraisals easier, better or both?

A. Performance reviews are one of the most hated parts of a manager’s job, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you think and do the following, you will sail through performance reviews with the least possible anxiety and the best possible results:

Rise above the form. The performance appraisal form is simply a  guide to make sure you cover certain issues and document your decisions. No matter how it is laid out, you can make it better by adding criteria, expectations, and a behaviorally anchored rating system.

1. Ensure that the performance appraisal conversation has no surprises. If you’ve done your job throughout the period, the direct report should already know what he/she is doing well and what he/she needs to improve.

2. Ask the individual for their self-evaluation. It’s impossible for a manager to know everything that’s transpired during the period, so you might learn something. Also, people appreciate having the opportunity, and they resent the process when they don’t have it.

3. Set your associates up for success by drafting clear, behavioral expectations, for the period ahead.

These steps will ensure the fairest possible treatment of others and make your year-end performance appraisals as painless and productive as possible.

Share this article