Did you know that 30% of performance reviews actually decrease employee performance?

Now, this is what we consider counterproductive. If something that was meant to increase employee performance is resulting in its exact opposite, then the problem lies in the process.

So, how do we conduct a performance review that actually does what it was made to do (increase employee engagement and productivity)?

This is exactly what we are going to discuss today in this blog. 

Balancing Positive and Constructive Feedback

Performance reviews usually get a bad rap among employees because they change the ambiance of the workplace from calm to chaotic. This is because employees are worried about the kind of feedback they might receive during the review process. Also, studies have shown that most employees find the reviews to be inaccurate and way too negative. However, managers cannot just focus on the positives of the work done by an employee. They have to analyze the shortcomings of the employee and provide constructive feedback as well.

But how do managers balance positive and constructive feedback during a performance review?

Here are a few tips to do the balancing act properly.

  • Follow the 3:1 rule. For every constructive feedback you give, balance it out with three positive things about the work done by the employee. 
  • Make the intent clear. Make sure that the employee understands that the constructive feedback you give is based on actual evidence and that it is said to improve their performance. Employees must not feel that the constructive feedback is baseless or unclear. 
  • Keep things open. Rather than making it a one-sided conversation, allow employees to voice their side as well. It decreases the level of hostility employees feel towards the process.

Examples of Impactful Performance Comments

There is a right way to make a statement, and then there is a wrong way to make it. The effectiveness of a performance review lies heavily in the way in which the feedback is structured and delivered. Even if managers mean good if the feedback doesn't resonate the right way with the employee, it can decrease their engagement and productivity levels.

Let us look at some examples of impactful performance comments to get an idea of what to and not to do while formulating feedback:

  1. "Your contributions are useful, but you could do a better job of meeting deadlines every time." Let's come up with ways for you to better handle your time and goals together.
  2. "Your communication style can come across as abrupt at times, which can make it harder for people to work together effectively." Let's look into ways to say what you want to say in a more polite way so that you can get along better with your coworkers.
  3. "I've noticed that you take over discussions in team meetings, which might stop other people from contributing." Let's try to get more people to participate so that everyone's voice is heard.
  4. "Your attention to detail is admirable, but it sometimes makes it take longer to finish tasks." Please help us find a way to keep standards high and meet goals quickly.
  5. "Your unwillingness to ask for help when you need it can sometimes cause problems that last a long time." Remember that it's okay to ask for help when you need it, and it can often help you solve the problem faster.
  6. "Your ideas are creative, but they might work better if you do more research and planning before putting them into action." We should work on making a stronger plan to improve our chances of success.
  7. "You have shown that you are a trustworthy employee by coming to work every day ready to do your job and with a good attitude."
  8. "You treat your coworkers with respect, and you’re good at adjusting to new situations."
  9. "You are the person that new employees go to for feedback, help, and to share ideas and methods for making things better."
  10. "Your team has done well because you're good at building relationships by asking others for feedback and using it."
  11. "You often talk over other people in meetings as they are speaking." If you don't mean to, it can be nice to show respect for your coworkers by waiting until they're done talking before adding to the chat.
  12. "You often get back to work late from lunch breaks and are early for work most of the time."
  13. "You consistently show a pattern of being late by getting to work 15 minutes or more after the scheduled time."
  14. "Your employees are afraid to ask for your help because you're biased a lot of the time."
  15. "You have what it takes to be a great leader, but I want to tell you something: be sure of yourself in team meetings so that your teammates respect and pay attention to you."
  16. "By calling back within an hour, you've shown that you care a lot about the customer experience."
  17. "Your high satisfaction rating shows that customers like how willing you are to help."
  18. "One thing you can do to improve your customer service is to smile and greet every customer you assist."
  19. "Customers have said that you have inappropriately talked to them in the past."
  20. "You always go above and beyond by beating your goals every three months."
  21. "Have you thought about taking the time to clean up your workstation in between helping customers?"
  22. "People have caught you wasting time at work instead of doing your work and you are often late to work."

See more performance review comments and phrases here.

How to Write a Performance Review in 7 Steps

Let us keep these examples in mind and start formulating the best performance review to make sure that your employees fall into the groove of continuous improvement.

Step 1: What Type of Performance Review Do You Plan to Conduct?

The first step in writing a performance review is determining the type of review you plan to conduct. It can be any or all of the following in various combinations:

  • Behavioral rating scale
  • Peer rating scale
  • Numerical rating scale
  • Competency rating scale

It is best to add questions of all types to make sure that the review is not monotonous in nature. 

Step 2: Collect the Necessary Data

Now that you have decided on the format of the performance review, the next step is to collect all the necessary information you need to conduct a proper performance review.

It includes the data of the past performance of the employee which helps managers gauge the level of efficiency in which each employee has performed. It can also include employee hiring documents and their past accomplishments. 

Step 3: Construct a Performance Review Workflow

Before starting with the review process, it is important to create a workflow that shows the timeline of the process. It can include information like the number of participants in the review process, the duration of the review process, the time taken to complete the recommended actions of the employees, and so on. 

Step 4: Announce to the Employees of the Upcoming Review

Rather than announcing a performance review a few minutes before the actual process, make sure to announce it a few days prior to the employees. It gives employees the time and headspace to mentally prepare for the review. To make the environment lighter, educate the employees regarding the positive benefits of a performance review. 

Step 5: Conduct the Review and Note Down the Points

Managers can now sit down with their collected data and other necessary documents to actually conduct a performance review. Make sure to add supporting examples of the employee performance alongside each review to make things more clear. Formulate performance reviews by keeping in mind the points we discussed in the earlier sections. 

Step 6: Communicate the Details With the Employee

Once you have formulated performance review feedback, it is time to meet with the employees individually and share the findings with them. Remain professional and do not make the employees feel tense or inferior. Make your intention clear and create a comfortable space for the feedback process to take place. 

Step 7: Create a Development Plan

The final step in a performance review feedback process is to discuss the development plans of the employees with them. Set achievable goals together by discussing them with the employees. Set a timeline for each milestone and schedule daily check-ins to measure progress. 

Easiest Way to Ask the Right Questions

You can never go wrong with performance reviews once you know how to ask the right questions. ThriveSparrow can help you create swift and customizable employee feedback surveys to gauge the sentiments of employees regarding the review process.

You can also understand the kind of questions to ask each employee during the review as well. As conducting a performance review is a time and money exhaustive process for the organization, to make the most out of it, make sure you use all the right tools possible. We are just a call away so if you feel like you need a helping hand with the process, make sure to give us a call.