Balancing act: Annual performance review doesn't have to be scary
I've tried to follow that example in my new job, holding one-on-one meetings with each of my team members every other week. Sometimes these quick meetings are tightly focused on a particular task or duty, while at other times they may include chatting about more personal matters. I try to be flexible, allowing the meetings to be rescheduled or canceled altogether if an employee is particularly busy.
I've found that one huge benefit of these meetings is that annual appraisals are not surprising for the people on my team. Or at least, they shouldn't be. If I've been doing my job, we've already discussed all the potential issues that would be raised in an appraisal, and the yearly review simply formalizes what they already know.
Speaking specifically of such reviews, Accountemps offered some other tips to make them more effective. For example, managers should focus on specifics; make sure to prepare for the appraisal; engage employees in a two-way conversation; ask team members to conduct a self-assessment prior to the formal review meeting; reinforce positive performance in addition to pointing out problems; and seek feedback from colleagues of the person who is being appraised.
I've used several of these ideas when conducting appraisals, and I've found them to be quite effective.
However, I know not all performance reviews work as they should, even if both the manager and employee are trying to ensure a good experience. Do you have an annual review horror story, either as an employee or a manager? Or, alternatively, what's the best experience you've had in a yearly appraisal? What tips would you give to people on either side of the desk to help such reviews go better?
Please send me your ideas, and I'll share some of them in a future column.