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Performance Reviews: 6 Mistakes Managers Make And How To Avoid Them

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Performance reviews are tools for managers to increase productivity and improve employee retention within a company. When a performance review is conducted properly, the results can lead to great success for everyone involved.

However, some companies don’t have a proper process for employee performance reviews and the manager and employee can both suffer. It’s important that the manager is as equally prepared for the employee review as is the employee.

To improve your review process, read the rest of this article to learn the most common mistakes managers make and how to avoid them.

6 Mistakes Managers Make During Performance Reviews

Being Too Vague

Performance reviews can be a daunting task for a manager. There are many responsibilities that fall on your plate and regular tasks that need to get done daily. When it comes time to performance reviews, it’s added work that you’d rather do without.

Many times when a company doesn’t have a process in place, the review ends up being a last minute meeting.

Don’t call employees into your office on a whim, without any notice, and conduct a performance review.

The review is meant to be helpful to the employee and give feedback on the work that they are doing. By simply telling the employee they’ve done a great job so far this year, you aren’t providing insight on how they can improve their work or enhance their career goals.

Managers should be able to give fruitful feedback that has detailed examples that the employee can really learn from.

Focusing On One Topic

When conducting a review, it’s easy for people to talk about what they are most familiar with, and most of the time that ends up being the most recent of events. Although nothing should be overlooked, it’s important to not focus on a single event.

Be sure that the review is well-rounded and includes various issues from throughout the year. A good way to make sure you’re able to track an employee’s successes and mistakes is to have performance reviews more than once a year. This will allow you to take notes each time you have a review with an employee and at the end of year meeting you can review all of your notes to circle back on topics.

Not Being Constructive

If there are particular incidents that need to be addressed that’s ok. Employees need to know where their mistakes are so they can improve. However, it’s important that managers don’t just reiterate the mistakes without giving constructive advice on how to improve.

Employees shouldn’t feel like their performance review was a meeting to discuss how poorly they are doing, but to evaluate where they are struggling and how they can succeed.

Not Opening Up The Conversation To Employees

Employee performance reviews should be a two-way conversation. Managers sometimes get carried away worrying about their job in the review, and get caught up in making sure the review is conducted and written.

What would help a manager the most is hearing what the employee has to say. Maybe there are things going on within the workplace that you’re unaware of that is halting productivity within the office.

Ask employees for feedback. You can’t physically be everywhere and hear everything so take the opportunity to get the “inside scoop” from employees. See if other areas of the company are affecting the person’s job and if there is room for company-wide improvement.

Having A Personal Bias

This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s worth repeating.

Managers must keep personal feelings aside.

Don’t let beliefs, preferences, and experiences unrelated to an employee’s work affect your ability to properly (and fairly) rate an employee’s performance.

Not Following Up

The performance review shouldn’t end when the conversation is over. To make sure goals are followed through on the managers must follow up with employees. A poor manager will conduct a review, write it up, and send it to HR without ever looking back.

Reviews should be held more than once a year to make sure goals being set are acted upon. Following through with how an employee is performing will only benefit the overall company.

How To Avoid Performance Review Mistakes

A performance review is made to evaluate the performance of an employee by a manager.

But what about the manager?

The dual purpose of a performance review is to see how successful the manager is at managing employees.

An employee’s performance can sometimes reflect management, so it’s important that managers take that part of review seriously.

Below are some tips on how managers can avoid making mistakes during a performance review and improve their own performance.

Take Pride In Your Work

As mentioned above, employees’ performances can reflect how well management is doing within an organization. Although the added work of performance reviews can be stressful, it’s important that managers take this time to also reevaluate themselves.

Pending on the feedback from employees, managers should ask themselves:

  1. What have I done to help improve each employee’s performance?
  2. Have I followed up on employee’s goals/successes/failures?
  3. Have I given proper training and guidance to my employees to help them succeed?
  4. What can I do at the end of these reviews to make sure progress is made?

Holding yourself accountable will encourage productive behavior.

Follow Up With Senior Management

Managers should follow up with management every so often to review the performance reviews. Executives should want to know how their employees are performing, where mistakes are being made, and what successes have occurred.

This is the time where management can approach executives about a performance review support system. Managers should have a process in place to streamline the performance review process, and getting the proper support team in place to help with management training is beneficial.

Stay Organized

It’s important to stay organized while giving performance reviews. Depending on your company, you could have a few dozen employees. Jotting down a thought or two on a post-it note and then sticking it to a folder won’t exactly help you when you go to write up the review, it’ll only make things more stressful.

Inquire about software that can help you streamline this kind of process. Look into applications you can use to keep everything in one place. You can even give employees access to your notes or written review so they can view the feedback themselves.

Making sure you’re organized will help smooth out the process more and more.

Why Are Performance Reviews Important?

Performance reviews are a helpful tool to review the performance of both staff and managers. They are a good way to monitor how a company is performing overall and where you can make improvements.

Some companies may have a process in place for managers to have these reviews, but they are only a successful tool when they are consistent and implemented.

Take some of the tips from this article to help streamline your employee performance review and avoid making common mistakes.

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