Management 101- The Performance Review

Posted on March 16, 2012.

If you are a new manager, there are few things more intimidating than giving your first review. Read on for a fast how-to on having the dreaded performance conversation, a la Manage Fearlessly:

First, you need to get your facts together. What has this employee done over the past year? Did they have specific goals they needed to accomplish? Did they do it? If you are new, you have to hope that the person in the job before you did the right thing by giving the employee goals and had the presence of mind to write them down, communicate them to the employee and leave a record of it for both of you. If not, you can only review the employee on whatever they have accomplished while you were there.

Write it down. This helps in so many ways, but most of all it gives you a script for your face-to-face conversation with the employee. Oh yeah, you have to talk to them. You can’t just slip a piece of paper under their door and sprint for the parking lot. You want to compare what they were asked to do, with what they accomplished. Start with what they did well and move on to what could have been done better. You can use our Stop/Start/Continue form if you don’t have a company specific form.  Keep it brief, this isn’t the time to write the great American novel.

Schedule a time to meet with your employee. Try to find a time when you and they can meet without a lot of interruptions or worries that they are getting behind in their work. Right before quitting time can be a good time, especially if the news you have to deliver may be upsetting to them. It gives them the ability to leave the workplace and think about things without getting a lot of stares from their coworkers.

Start the conversation with the Continue, because it is the most positive feedback, and then move on to the Stop and the Start portions of the review.  If you do it the other way, people tend to not hear the positive comments and focus only on the negative. Make sure that you give your employee time to comment. You may have missed something that needs to be added.  When the conversation is over, both of you should sign the form to signify that you met and discussed it. Both of you should keep a copy.

Remember to stick with the facts, be specific in your positive and negative feedback, and things will go well.