64% of employees have an employee feedback program. But only 10% say they're engaged after receiving negative feedback. [Gallup]

Performance review meetings are an excellent way to sharpen the skills and mindset of your employees, but if not done the right way, it can do more harm than good.

Managers need to conduct performance review meetings with utmost care, especially when delivering negative or constructive feedback.

Today, let us look at some effective tips managers can use to conduct successful performance review meetings.

Setting the Agenda for a Performance Review Meeting

For a performance review meeting to be most effective, it must have a format, structure, and, most importantly, an agenda. It gives the participants a clear idea of what to expect from the meeting, what possible topics will be discussed, and what the conclusion will be.

The manager must set an agenda for the review meeting and communicate it with the employees so that both parties are on the same page. Also, an agenda helps make sure that the meeting is free of unnecessary topics that could take longer time to cover. 

  • As a manager, you can ask for input from your employees in designing the right agenda for the review meeting. This way, the insights from employees can be included during the performance meeting, which makes it relevant for employees as well.
  • While setting the agenda, it has to be made sure that the roles of both parties are mentioned clearly. The agenda of the meeting could be to seek certain information from the employee, share information, or make a decision collaboratively. It could be either one or all of these. In any case, employees can prepare in advance if the agenda is structured with a clear purpose.
  • Each agenda topic has to be allocated a particular amount of time, which can be divided depending on the relevance of the topics.
  • Managers can make amendments to the agenda if they feel like certain topics are to be discussed more.

9 Tips to Conduct Effective Performance Review Meetings

Performance review meetings are a great way to have a clear one-on-one conversation with employees and understand their sentiments towards their job role and the organization as a whole. To make things even more effective during the meeting, managers can follow these nine tips:

#1 Create an Environment Suitable for a Positive Performance Review

When it comes to conducting a great performance review meeting, the environment plays a major role. Employees tend to get stressed and out of their element during performance reviews as they consider it to be a way to point out their shortcomings.

Because of this exact reason, managers must make sure that the environment they choose to conduct a review meeting is calm and has a positive spin to it. Managers can go for a well-lit room with good ventilation, and can even seek the help of plants to make things green and fresh.

Rather than conducting a review meeting cooped up in a closed cabin, an open space would be a great choice. Make sure that the privacy of the meeting is not compromised. 

#2 Select the Type of Performance Review to Be Conducted

There are different types of performance reviews that managers use.

Some of them include 360-degree feedback, rating scales, narrative feedback, and peer reviews.

The manager must take into consideration the kind of topics they wish to discuss with the employee and then decide on the type of review which would be best to measure and analyse the performance of the employee. Usually, for an effective evaluation, managers use a mix of some of these performance review types.

In certain areas, more narrative feedback might be best, and in other cases, an objective rating scale can be used. Whatever the case, managers have to make sure that they fix a format and type beforehand. 

#3 Ask the Right Questions to Make the Review Even More Effective

A performance review is all about asking the right questions. Managers have to put in the time and effort to phrasing these questions the right way so that the employees do not feel intimidated. 

  • What are your least favorite things to do? Why?
  • What's your favorite thing about working at [company name]? 
  • What do you think your present job does to help you and the business grow and succeed?
  • What would you change about your job?
  • Why do you want to get this done before our next review?
  • What are the main skills that help you do well at your job?
  • What skills have you not yet been able to show off at work?
  • What kind of work really gets you going? 

All these questions are a great way to understanding the employees better. It gives the manager a clear idea of what motivates them and what doesn't.

  • In what ways are your skills a good fit for the job? 
  • What kinds of jobs do you find most easy?
  • What are your favorite things to do? Why?
  • What are some things you're proud of that you've done since our last review?
  • How do you stay motivated to do your work and be productive?
  • Which of your goals did you reach? Which ones did you not reach?
  • What can we do to make the work you do more fun? 
  • Why do you want to get this done before our next review?

#4 The Performance Criteria Must Be Kept Clear

While giving positive or negative feedback regarding the performance of an employee, managers have to always keep the criterion clear. It makes the evaluation process free of bias, and it is also an excellent way to make employees understand about their performance:

  • Write down your goals for growth. It must be closely associated with the job role of the employee, and it must align with the personal goals of the individual and the overall goals of the company.
  • Make factors into goals that can be measured. It is always a great idea to make the goals S.M.A.R.T. This way, they can be easily measured.
  • Describe how each person contributes to the company's overall goals. The most important aspect, at the end of the day, is how an employee contributes to the overall goal of the organization. This must be made clear to the employee. 
  • Make your goals clear and easy to understand. Before you end the meeting, always crosscheck with the employee to make sure that both of you are on the same page when it comes to the goals set. 

#5 The Feedback Provided Must Always Be Actionable

At the end of a performance review, managers provide feedback to the employees.

Rather than giving generic and vague feedback, managers have to make sure that the feedback is actually actionable. You can set up and schedule check-ins to measure the progress of the development plan and provide amendments wherever needed. It makes sure that the development of employee performance actually takes place and that the purpose of the review meeting is fulfilled. 

#6 Listen Actively to What Your Employees Have to Say

Performance review meetings are to be conducted in such a way that employees have an opportunity to state their minds regarding the feedback they receive. While employees speak their minds, managers have to make sure that they actively listen to what the employees have to say. 

#7 Always Use Constructive Language While Giving Feedback

Let’s be real here: not all feedback can be positive in nature. There will surely be areas where the performance of the employee could have been better.

While communicating these aspects to the employee, managers have to make sure that they stick to constructive language. Rather than trying to point out all the mistakes the employee has made, get the idea across in a more positive manner. 

#8 It Is Always Best to Do 1:1 Meetings

Always conduct performance review meetings one-on-one, and if possible, in person. One should never conduct performance meetings as a group because it will not give the desired results, and above all, the employees might not be comfortable with it. 

#9 Acknowledge Exceptional Performance When You See One

Do not shy away from properly acknowledging and recognizing an exceptional performance when you see one. There will always be some employees who go above and beyond to deliver exceptional performance. In such cases, rather than merely congratulating them, make it a point to properly acknowledge it. 

Preparation is Key

No matter how many times you have conducted a performance review, preparation is always necessary.

To take things to the next level, ThriveSparrow can help you with customized employee feedback and performance review surveys. It is a great way to understand how employees feel about certain topics and what changes could be made to the performance review to make it even more effective.

Investing in  right tool such as ThriveSparrow can help catapult the growth of your organization to many levels.