Four Things To Remember When Doing Employee Reviews

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Most people hate going through the traditional employee review:  That’s the one where you get called into the principal’s office and find out if you passed or failed your entire year.

Employees face them with nerves and clammy hands, and bosses dread the tedious rounds of interviews.

So here are four things to remember when you’re doing your next review:

1. If a person doesn’t leave thinking, “I’m so glad I work for this company,” you’ve failed.

Sure, there may be issues to address or ways for the person to improve, but at the end of the day they need to feel happy and inspired.  Unless of course they’re on a discipline track, in which case they should feel chastened, but still hopeful.

2. Telling is not selling

This is an old saw in sales.  Whenever your lips are moving, you’re not learning anything.  Employee review is a time for the employee to do the talking, not for you to do the telling.  When they first come in, prompt them with some great questions.  Some I like to use include:

  • What do you do around here that energizes you?  Depletes you?
  • What duties do you do that no one else notices?

    3. There’s a big difference between clear and kinda clear

Say what you mean and say it clearly.  If you see a big problem, say it kindly but honestly.  Use this phrase: “I see something that’s getting in your way that I think is going to be a roadblock for you wherever you work.  Can we talk about it?”

4. Use empathy, not anger

There’s a big difference between saying, “I’m fed up!” and saying, “I’m concerned!”  People listen to and believe others who they think are for them, not against them!

Try one of these skills during your next performance review and see the difference it makes!

If you haven’t done so yet, check out our course at Professional Leadership Institute on Conducting Performance Reviews.

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Getting ahead is about getting started! 

Trevor Throness

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Written by Trevor Throness
Trevor is a veteran coach, keynote speaker, and the author of the book “The Power of People Skills” released by Career Press NY in 2017. He’s also written for or been featured in places like Forbes, Inc, The NY Post, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, CEO Magazine, and numerous podcasts and interviews.


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