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10 Keys to Delivering Performance ReviewsThe Importance of Delivering Review Feedback Effectively 10 Keys to Conducting an Effective Formal Review Discussion Schedule Sufficient Time in a Private Setting Schedule enough time to discuss the formal review and answer your direct report’s questions. All performance feedback should be conducted in a private, one-on-one setting without any interruptions. Employees report widespread dissatisfaction with their performance management programs. Managers often lack the confidence or knowledge required to deliver valuable feedback. If executed well, delivering performance review and focusing on the right type of feedback can impact employee performance by more than 25%. Rehearse the Conversation Prior to the Meeting Rehearse the conversation for a meaningful discussion, particularly for delivering development feedback. In addition, rehearsing helps ensure that you are confident and professional throughout, and do not appear to be anxious. Provide the Employee with Performance Review Documentation Offer a copy of the notes and online formal downward review to the employee and allow a few minutes to read the document before starting the conversation. Begin with Strengths and Then Discuss Development Areas Emphasis on strengths in formal reviews has the greatest potential impact (36%) on employee performance; consequently, managers should initiate the feedback with strengths, followed by development opportunities. Focus Development Areas on Employee Behaviors, Not Personality Traits Focus on the employee’s behaviors, not his/her personality, while delivering development feedback. Emphasizing weaknesses can actually damage performance by 27%. Regularly Deliver Balanced Performance Feedback Provide Examples to Substantiate the Review Validate your perspective with tangible examples. Focus on consistent behaviors and frequent incidents, rather than one-off examples of good or bad behavior. Managers should provide timely and accurate informal feedback throughout the year. There should not be any surprises for the employee during the formal performance review discussion. The formal review should be comprised of a balanced mix of positive and negative feedback. Managers should ‘sandwich’ the feedback by providing the positive first, following it by the development areas, and ending with words of encouragement. Provide Suggestions for Performance Improvement Accompany negative feedback with suggestions for doing the job better. Constructive comments on development and specific suggestions for improvement are clearly very valuable and have a potential impact of approximately 7% on performance. Use Clear and Simple Words During the Discussion Maintain a structured flow during the conversation and cover one topic at a time to ensure clarity. Include a short introduction, and avoid using jargon/obscure words to describe strengths and development areas. (For a checklist of detailed dos and don’ts, refer to the tear-out on the next page.) Solicit the Employee’s Questions or Comments Give the employee a few minutes to reflect on the feedback once you have delivered the review, and ask for questions or thoughts. (For more information on addressing employee reactions, refer to CLC’s guide on Managing Employee Reactions to Feedback.) End on a Positive Note and Discuss Next Steps End the discussion on a positive note with a summary of the performance review. Schedule follow-up meetings to build the individual development plan (IDP) and monitor progress. © 2010 The Corporate Executive Board Company. All Rights Reserved. CLC PRO
10 Keys to Delivering Performance ReviewsChecklist for an Effective Review Discussion Use the following checklist and ‘GUIDE’ acronym to deliver feedback while following the ten keys to conducting effective performance reviews (explained in the preceding page): Schedule sufficient time for the meeting and book a quiet room Rehearse the conversation beforehand Provide the employee with performance review documentation Maintain eye contact and a positive attitude Begin with strengths and then discuss development areas Avoid judgmental comments and personal remarks Use clear and simple words; do not use jargon or vague language Provide examples to support feedback and highlight suggestions for improvement Listen to the employee’s comments and reactions End on a positive note; summarize the feedback and highlight next steps regarding goal-setting and individual development planning Use ‘GUIDE’ to Deliver Feedback G Gather verifiable performance examples U Understand goals and actions to achieve results I Identify strengths and development areas D Develop suggestions for performance improvement E Expect clarifications and questions Performance Feedback Language—Dos and Don’ts Managers must focus on delivering valuable feedback in a way that employees understand and accept willingly. To minimize negative employee reactions, it is essential that managers are mindful of the language they use while delivering feedback. DO DON’T Use the term ‘development areas’ when providing negative feedback. Use positive, empathetic sentences, such as “You are professional and diligent with project management, but your communication style is a bit formal and leads to fragmented teamwork.” Be descriptive, for example, “Carrie, I thought the way you managed this was innovative and professional. I particularly liked the way you...." Emphasize words of encouragement, for instance, “Overall, your analytical skills are improving steadily; moving forward I will provide you with more opportunities to develop this skill further.” Use the words ‘weaknesses‘ and ‘poor performance.’ Employ extreme words, such as ‘always’ and ‘never.’ Include labels, such as ‘irresponsible,’ 'careless,’ and ‘awful.’ Make value judgments, such as ‘best,’ ‘bad,’ ‘incompetent.’ Compare peers, for example, “You are better than John at process management.” Apologize after delivering negative feedback. Sources: Corporate Leadership Council, Building the High Performance Workforce, Washington, D.C.: Corporate Executive Board, 2002. Moulton, Stephen, “What You Need to Know About Giving Feedback”, HR.com (Date Unknown). Boyette, Michael, “Four Keys to Delivering Effective Performance Feedback,” Hay Group (October 2009). © 2010 The Corporate Executive Board Company. All Rights Reserved. CLC PRO
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