How to Conduct Performance Reviews

By Tayo Leigh

 25 Feb 2015     Comments

Managing Performance: The Review

Identifying poor performance can be simple. The tricky part is how to address this in appraisals. You want to reinforce performance standards and ensure your employee's compliance. However, it can often be an awkward conversation to have and one that can easily turn negative. Read our top tips for the effective way to address performance issues.

Performance Review in 6 Easy Steps!

1. Tell Them The Problem

Be very specific and direct about the area you wish to address. Don't assume that the employee is already aware of the nature or extent of the problem. It can help to have concrete examples or 'proof' of the problem you are addressing. In order for the problem to be resolved, its a great help if both parties can agree that it exists!

2. Two-way Conversation

Don't assume you already know the underlying reason for the poor performance. LISTEN! Try to be open to hearing their account of themselves. There may be reasons and circumstances you have not considered.

3. Be Positive!

Its not what you say, its how you say it! Leave out the insults and put-downs, instead try to balance praise and criticism. Aim to be supportive and constructive. Despite the issue at hand, be positive and aim to boost their confidence. Ask open ended questions to prompt them to propose solutions.


"Your last 2 reports contained an unacceptable number of errors. How do you think we can prevent this in future?"

"I believe that you are capable of producing higher quality work. Did you get the result you wanted?"

4. Describe Ideal Performance

Make sure your employee understands what is expected of them. Describe both the level of acceptable performance and also what constitutes exceptional performance in their role.

5. Develop a SMART Plan

Involve employees in goal setting to ensure understanding of expectations and compliance.

Make sure the goals set are SMART -Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-related.

Its important to ensure the employee has the skills, knowledge and motivation to bring about a change in their performance. Crucially, the agreed improvements need to be measurable so that future performance may be fairly assessed.

6. Follow up!

Following the appraisal send an email or letter confirming what was discussed and agreed. Make sure to schedule a meeting where the performance will be reviewed again and assessed through the agreed framework.

Use these tips to avoid uncomfortable and ineffective reviews.


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