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Facilitate performance reviews that are open and successful

Preparing for a review

Half the work is done when all come prepared

Send your employees a personal invitation in advance to let them know about the review and ask them to prepare. Some suggestions for your employees might be:

Self-appraisal: what have been your personal successes since the last performance review? Which tasks/projects did you find particularly motivating? Which less so?

Which skills would you like to cultivate and in which areas would you like to contribute (more)?

What feedback do you have for me?

How do you best prepare yourself for a review? What questions should you ask yourself?

First of all, it's useful to be aware that the current appraisal only concerns the period of time between the last review and this one. 

Think about how you can plausibly explain to your employee the process which has led to this appraisal. 

Keep in mind the performance over the whole year when thinking about feedback.

Compare earlier interim reviews with this evaluation: how are they different?

Which points from the interim reviews support or endorse your assessment?

Find concrete examples to illustrate your employee's achievements.

How does this employee compare to other team members who are on the same level?
For final evaluations such as "satisfactory performance", "good performance" or "excellent performance", which clearly demonstrated achievements in particular have led to this evaluation?

For final evaluations such as "improve performance" or "improvement needed", which examples reasonably demonstrate how you arrived at this evaluation? What can be learned from this for the future? What steps should you approach next with your employee? What do you expect from them in the near future? 

How can you communicate authentically to your employee what you appreciate about their work and what specific points of potential development you have identified in them? 

What do you want your employee to take away with them from the review? How do you bring the review to a close? 

Holding the review

Create optimal conditions for a constructive discussion

Just before the review, once again briefly take stock and remind yourself of the following:

Your employee has many good points: which ones do you appreciate in particular?

The review is a discussion on equal footing: show respect and authenticity, and express yourself in concrete terms. Also be open to criticism.

Listen attentively to what the other person has to say. This conveys appropriate levels of appreciation and helps to develop a comfortable and open discussion.

No review is the same. A structured approach can, however, keep you on the right path.

Open the discussion using friendly, positive words; explain to the employee the objective and structure of the review.

Next, allow your employee to run through their self-appraisal and then reflect back to them what they have said.

Give your employee detailed feedback, using concrete examples to demonstrate achievements and explain your final evaluation.

Be open with your employee - tell them what you appreciate about them in particular and where you see potential for development. Ask them what they expect from the future and how they see you. 

Discuss with your employee the next steps towards achieving the defined goals together, and conclude the review with a summary focusing on the points you value in them.

Post review

What can you take from the review and how do you approach the next steps as discussed?

Has the review left the employee expecting a response, additional information or similar?