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6 Nonsensical Ways to Start a Performance Conversation Off Wrong

By Michael Heller Performance Management

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Before you begin a conversation with an employee regarding their performance, make sure you’re not starting off on the wrong foot. Tracking and managing the performance review process is an essential part of any and every successful workforce, but it’s how performance results are communicated is what can make or break a high-performing team.

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The best performance reviews are well thought out conversations, curated specifically to the employee. The worst performance reviews are the ones that start off with a little bit of apprehension, and lack of preparation/attention to detail. Below we have listed some of the worst ways to start off a conversation about employee performance, and how to fix them.

“The best way to inspire people to superior performance is to convince them by everything you do and by your everyday attitude that you are wholeheartedly supporting them.” – Harold S. Geneen

1. Avoiding a performance review, “Next week for sure Carol!”

Don’t avoid a performance review, this is your chance to deliver your point of view in a constructive manner! Yes, you’re busy. Yes, your work is important, but the quality of your employees’ work is hanging in the balance.

“People become high performers by identifying specific areas where they need to improve and then practicing those skills with ongoing feedback on performance. Hence, to grow capabilities and get promoted, it’s important for employeesto have and demand these conversations.” – Frank Cespedes, contributor, CNBC

Take the time to schedule out your performance reviews, set a reminder and then follow through with the original date scheduled for the review. Don’t allow yourself to push the appointment back. If you MUST reschedule a formal review, keep your employee in the loop with constantly accessible feedback they can use to improve the performance review process.

2. Lack of preparation,“I haven’t had a chance to look at your file yet…Let’s see here…”

Your employees dedicate valuable time to the company. They spend core hours of the day working for you. The chief purpose of a performance review is to truly look over the employee’s progress (or lack thereof.) Don’t simply glance at recent projects they have contributed to. Pay attention to the work they do, the behaviors they exhibit and their cultural fit within the company. In order to be helpful, you have to be observant. [easy-tweet tweet=”Pay close attention to the work your employees are doing so you’re not unprepared for performance reviews. “] Seize this opportunity, look over your employee’s projects and behaviors. Make a list of points to bring up during the review and questions to ask them about your own performance as a boss. Take time to collect feedback from fellow employees to share a well-rounded assessment of performance.

3. Delivering a monologue, “Four score and twenty years ago, I was an intern too…”

Don’t lecture your employees. Allow space (and yes a little bit of humility) in the review for your employee to offer their opinions. They may give a great explanation and even have some helpful insights as to why a certain project didn’t work. Only 55% of employees feel inspired by their leaders and this could be why: Don’t start in attack mode. Take a step back. Allow time for your employees to explain certain situations and don’t interrupt. Type up a survey asking them to detail a project they really had troubles with. Have them detail what went wrong (or right) and what they think caused the project to be either a success or failure. [easy-tweet tweet=”Only 55% of employees feel inspired by their employers.”]

4. Vague feedback, “Nice work, Greg.”

Be specific with your feedback, lay it on thick (ok not too thick.) You need to confront whatever issues the employee is facing and find a conclusive solution. Doing this will enable your employee to work from a standpoint of clarity. Letting a deconstructive aspect/work quality of an employee fester for too long, could force you to eventually lay off said employee in the long run. Which, could cost the company unwanted expenses. In fact, it can cost around 150% of a mid-level employee’s annual salary to replace them.

5. Too high of expectations, “Juliet you need to come into work at 4:30 a.m. and bring us doughnuts every Thursday.”

Don’t slay employees in their performance review and leave them tired before they even start. Highlight the good parts of their time spent at your company. Avoid leaning too hard in either direction. A good resource to refer to during the performance review is an outline of important topics to bring up (that you have prepared before the interview.)

“To be truly effective, leaders must be thoughtful in their approach to giving individual employees what they need, knowing that from person-to-person those arrangements will likely be different. If you can find the right balance between accommodating individual preferences and maintaining workplace unity, your employees will not only feel recognized and valued, but they’ll have the space and agency to engage more closely and thoughtfully with their work.”-Susan Reilly Salgado, Contributor, Inc.

Remember not everyone is perfect, evaluate your employee’s negative points with a grain of salt. Treating everyone as an individual is essential to getting original (individualistic) work. If you want blanket work, treat your employees like sheep. If you want true gems of originality, put in your footwork and treat your employees as separate working entities.

6. Lack of follow up, “I’ll check up on you in MAYBE 2 years Donna.”

Reviews are meant to shed light on projects of the past/present/future and how collectively everyone can work in a more efficient way. Once you propose all of these great ideas, check up on your employees. See if they are continuing what was proposed during the review. More importantly, see if what you proposed in the review is realistic AND productive in a positive way. [easy-tweet tweet=”The purpose of a performance review is to shine light on past, present and future projects.”] With iRevu’s employee performance software, employers have the option of real-time feedback which allows the employer/employee to send feedback in real-time, correcting and adjusting any problem the employer/employee may be facing. Now that you have the tools to successfully navigate your next performance review, put some of our advice to work. See how you can shine up your performance review process, to truly maximize production in your company.

Michael Heller

Posted By Michael Heller

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