How to Make Annual Reviews Work

If you think you’re nervous about giving an employee an annual review, take heart — your employees are nervous too. An annual review can be a positive, productive time to review progress, goals and triumphs, or it can simply be a salary review. Top companies treat annual reviews as a time for reflection and employee development. With these five essential annual review tips, you too can help employees grow and improve even if you own a small business.

The Top 5 Annual Review Tips

  • Establish clear benchmarks well before the review — it’s hard for your employees to hit a target when they don’t even know there’s a target out there. The same goes for employee benchmarks. Employees can’t meet your expectations if they don’t know what those expectations are in advance. Well before an annual review, establish clear workplace performance benchmarks with your staff. This gives you a shared starting point and goal to work toward.
  • Leave plenty of time — don’t rush a review. Allocate at least half an hour to one full hour of uninterrupted time for the review. There’s nothing worse than rushing a review and leaving employees with a lot of unanswered questions.
  • Keep it private — treat the employee review with consideration. Make sure that everything related to the review, including your conversation with the employee, is kept confidential.
  • Get the raise out of the way first — it’s hard for the employee to concentrate on performance feedback when he or she is wondering if they’re getting a raise. Tell employees about their raises first.
  • Be specific — it will frustrate your employee if you can give nothing but vague feedback during a performance review. Whenever you can, cite specific situations, behaviors, benchmarks or projects that contributed to your assessment of the employee’s performance. People learn from specifics and tune out generalities.

What If There Are No Raises This Year?

If you aren’t awarding raises or bonuses this year, should you still conduct performance reviews? Absolutely. Many employees continue to work for companies even if their salaries don’t increase, because of other benefits. They may love the company, the work or the workplace environment. Performance reviews shouldn’t be all about salaries. Feedback is always appreciated, so hold those reviews anyway.

A good performance review offers focused, structured feedback on an employee’s job performance. Take your time preparing for a performance review, use these tips, and help your employees grow more confident and skilled in their jobs. Need help managing your staff? Check out our Workforce Management Solutions!



Industry Newsletters 2017