5 Tips to Help Your Yearly Reviews Run Smoothly

5 Tips to Help Your Yearly Reviews Run Smoothly

Managers and employees alike often feel trepidation as performance review time nears. But, when done well, these sessions can be painless, practical and productive for everyone. Employees generally want to better understand their employers’ expectations and have a supervisor who communicates with them regularly and encourages their development. And managers can use performance reviews to develop their leadership skills, identify training needs, and build rapport with their team members.

Put that way, it doesn’t sound so bad, after all. Here are five tips to improve your year-end reviews:


  1. Be prepared.

Never go into a performance review unprepared. If you wing it, no matter how long you’ve been doing this, chances are it will fail miserably. You may miss key opportunities for feedback, and your employee will feel shortchanged and possibly discouraged about their successes.

  • If necessary, practice ahead of time with a trusted colleague or HR professional. Jot down notes with the main points of feedback. Include bullet points that clearly illustrate what you need to say to your employee.
  1. Deliver feedback regularly.

Performance appraisals shouldn’t be standalone annual events. Develop the habit of communicating and interacting with employees on a regular basis throughout the year.

  • Manage by walking around. Talk with people and ask questions about their work. You might also want to set regular times to catch up on projects and developments, such as a brief weekly check-in. The only “annual” aspect of your year-end review process may be filling out a required form or implementing raises.
  1. Set goals.

It’s imperative that an employee knows exactly what is expected of them – and by when. Also, make it clear as you set employee goals that people understand how you will evaluate and measure their performance.

  • Discuss an employee’s role in the evaluation process with them. Share the format as well, so ideally there will be no surprises at the time of their year-end review.
  1. Ask employees for input.

A manager and employee should discuss every review together. If the employee has completed a self-appraisal as part of your process, talk about any areas where the two differ.

  • Remember, managers have a role in their employees’ performance, too. Ask questions like “What have I done recently to help your performance?” and, “What do you need me to do?” Strive for specific examples.
  1. Document performance.

Don’t put anything on a performance appraisal you haven’t personally witnessed. Throughout the year, jot down notes on your conversations with employees about their performance, as well as your own observations. This way, at year-end review time, you’ll have a comprehensive picture of a person’s work over the past 12 months.

  • Have employees comment on their reviews. Create a section on your review form for this purpose and have employees sign it when it’s complete. This documents that an individual received their full review, even if they disagreed with all or some of its content.

Do you need additional guidance or support in designing year-end reviews, training managers to conduct them, or creating forms and other tools to ensure success?

If so, consider partnering with the talent management professionals at Frontline Source Group. To get in touch with our staffing service in Houston, TX, click here. Contact us to find the branch nearest to you or read our related posts to learn more!

Category(ies): Blog
Published on: Feb 21, 2019