Top Tips for Running Your Year-End Evaluations and Reviews

Performance reviews are valuable for both employers and employees. The feedback gained during these sessions enables both parties to open up and discuss what’s working and what’s not. A successful review should be a two-way conversation, focused on how both parties can be better in the year ahead.

Here are some tips for making your year-end evaluations better than ever, as you wind down 2018 and move forward in the new year:

Provide regular, informal feedback.

Offer consistent assessments of employee performance throughout the year, so there are no real surprises come annual review time. As an added plus, if you keep the communication door open at all times, you’ll build a stronger rapport with employees – and annual review meetings will flow more smoothly as a result.

  • Don’t catch people off guard. A year-end evaluation should not be the first time an employee hears that changes are pending or they’re not performing up to par.
  • Communicate regularly with all employees, both high and low performers. Problem workers tend to take up all your time and attention. Remember to stay in touch with highly valuable employees as well. Let them know how much you – and your company – appreciate their drive, commitment, loyalty and results.

Be honest.

No employee is perfect. When you hold a performance review, it’s your responsibility to tackle problems head on. Decide ahead of time what you need to discuss, and don’t hesitate to do so. Never avoid or tiptoe around touchy issues that affect you, your team or your company.

  • Be truthful, but not brutal. Deliver feedback in a way you would want to receive it. This conversation is important and inevitable, so plan the right approach and stick to it.

Don’t just use your words. Pay attention to them.

Pay careful attention to what you say during annual reviews. As noted by James E. Neal, author of Effective Phrases for Performance Appraisals, these five words and expressions will help you effectively highlight an employee’s contributions:

  • Achievement: When you document a review, uses phrases like “achieves optimal levels of performance with/for … “
  • Communication skills: Words like “excels in facilitating group discussions” and “effectively communicates goals” go a long way.
  • Improvement: Employees like – and need – to hear they are getting better at their jobs and their bosses have noticed it.
  • Creativity: Appreciating peoples’ creative sides makes for a happier, more engaged team.
  • Management ability: Having leadership strengths is key for an employee’s career success. Highlight these whenever possible.

End on a positive note.

Make sure you conclude every performance review with a sense of mutual understanding and respect. Never leave an employee feeling like they’re in the dark going forward.

  • Encourage people and express your appreciation. This gives an added boost to a positive review and lifts an employee’s spirit even after a somewhat negative appraisal. Positive reinforcement carries a lot of weight and gives team members the confidence and drive they need to perform better.

Need help getting your year-end reviews on point?

Lyons HR provides full-service HR management, with a team of experienced pros to assist you, so you can run your business more efficiently and successfully. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.

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