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6 Tips to improve Employee Performance Reviews

6 Tips to improve Employee Performance Reviews

Employee reviews are often seen as monotonous, checklist-based meetings that may or may not end with a raise. Read more for six quick tips to elevate your company’s culture through a smarter employee review process.

When you think of the traditional employee performance review, it evokes visualizations of a rigid discussion in which neither the boss nor the employee really wants to be there. The boss is rattling off scores from a form, and the employee is only wondering whether he or she will receive a raise. But what if you could turn the employee review process into a more productive system that keeps workers happy, informed and motivated? Well, you can. Here are six quick tips for maximizing the productivity of your employee performance reviews.

Have More Than One Meeting per Year

Many employers hold employee performance reviews once a year, at the end of the year. This is extremely ineffective because not only are you spending an entire calendar year without measuring and reviewing an employee’s efforts, but you’re also catching the employee in the midst of holiday madness. Consider holding a midyear review in addition to the end-of-year session.

Hold Impromptu Performance Reviews

A review doesn’t always need to be a big looming date on the calendar. With all employees, make a conscious effort to call them in for a quick, casual chat about their performance and goals every now and then. Doing so will strengthen your lines of communication and help to keep them engaged in their work.

Separate Raises and Reviews

The employee performance review is eternally synonymous with a “raise or no raise; bonus or no bonus” judgment day. It shouldn’t be that way, though, and here’s why.

“You can’t get someone to really be listening and trying to learn about what they can do to change or problem-solve when they know the meeting is about what their bonus is,” Michael Beer, chairman of TruePoint and professor emeritus of business administration at Harvard Business School, told “They’re going to be very defensive and closed.”

Instead, you should separate the two. Reviews are reviews, and discussions about raises or bonuses call for their own meetings.

Be Personable

There’s nothing less inspiring than walking through a 10-point performance checklist with standardized feedback. Compile your own notes and refer to them sparingly, placing more of an emphasis on collaborative strategy and problem-solving.


A performance review is the employees’ chance to get better. In many ways, this will require them to listen to your feedback. But throughout the review, be sure to give them opportunities to offer their thoughts and ideas as well. You don’t want the review to become a lecture.

Prepare Beforehand

Too often managers enter an employee review unprepared. It’s understandable — they’re busy, and it’s easy to assume the conversation will flow freely. We also just told you to loosen the process up a bit. But you need to find the right middle ground between a conversation and a meeting. You want to connect with the employees, but you also want to coach them. The best way to ensure a productive review is to prepare beforehand so there’s no time wasted between talking points.

These are just a few tips for making the most of your employee performance reviews. Learn more about using Performance Reviews in our cloud-based technology.

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