By Christie Kandiwa

The performance review process should be treated with caution by organizations. When conducted effectively, your performance system should aid in aligning the recognition and rewards of your employee’s achievements, creating an empowering and effective work environment. However, to ensure success, systems must be clear, unbiased, and focused on human resource and organizational planning.

Additionally, you must be intentional in effectively planning and preparing months prior to the performance review. Duties include the setting of goals and carefully documenting progress. However, no matter how concise the tasks are, they all assemble to help encourage a success driven performance review.

1. Set Some Goals

The first step to any business venture starts with setting goals and expectations. As predictable and tedious as it becomes in business management, this step should never be overlooked. It is essential your goals remain SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely), integrating your organization and employees’ aspirations. A great way to ensure this is achieved is by discussing these needs alongside your employee. This allows you to take into account the capability and clearly communicate these expectations to the employee in a confident manner.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • What are the company and management priorities? Do they align?
  • How did the company fail to fulfil its potential last year? Why?
  • What challenges could the employee face this year?
  • What do they think?
  • How will achieving this goal help the company?

2. Be Consistent and Intentional

Many small businesses fail at conducting effective performance reviews due to their inconsistency. When your system is inconsistent, inaccurate data may conflict with reality, and control issues that may arise become difficult. Hence, take time to arrange casual meetings with the employee to touch base on any arising challenges, and taking the opportunity to reevaluate the goals set at the beginning of the process.

Ideally, these touch base meetings may be held monthly, reviewing week by week, the occasional frustrations, victories and challenges that the employee may have experienced. It is essential you take time to dig deep into the core sources of these successes and failure in order to readjust a suitable strategy and improve the system for more effective and efficient results. Take time to document these touch-base meetings in order to track improvements and inhibitions.

3. Realize It’s a Two-way System

While it is often advised to practice authority in intensive performance reviews, it is crucial to understand that performance management isn’t about forcing the organizational goals onto the employees but rather integrating the business needs and goals alongside those who work within it.

In fact, research conducted by psychologists at Kansas State University, Eastern Kentucky University and Texas A&M University proved that majority of employees hate performance reviews. Hence, it is important the employee adapts organizational needs in order for the organization to retain its employees by fulfilling the employees’ needs and aspirations equally.

4. Ask the Correct Questions

Asking the precise questions is the ultimate key to unlocking the core issues that are holding you back from success. As a leader, you may be looking for specific information. However, asking the wrong questions is likely to generate the wrong answer. Hence, have to ensure that you ask the right questions the right way.

When asking questions:

  • Don’t use rhetorical questions. Instead, ask open ended questions.
  • Don’t be too direct, be kind.
  • Be a livid listener.
  • Clarify questions and be welcoming.

Try to ask:

  • What have been your biggest successes/challenges?
  • Did you overcome them? If so, how?
  • How do you feel about the progress you have made towards attaining these goals?
  • What could make your role easier?
  • What has been significantly helpful?
  • What are strengths/weaknesses do you have at this job?
  • What skills haven’t you been using?
  • What skills do you feel you need to succeed better in this role?
  • What are your career goals? How can the organization help move you closer to these goals?
  • What personal area do you hope to learn more about?

Evidently, It’s very important for you to prepare for annual performance reports by actionable and realistic setting expectations with the employee, having touch base meeting monthly, quarterly in order to track issues that may arise and re-evaluate the performance review system, asking the employees to preparation of current goals, achievements and job entitlement. The line manager should also prepare customer reviews, past evaluations, and goals. This ensures accuracy and a performance review that focuses on the hr planning and mission statement goals.