When the year is coming to an end, many managers have annual reviews on their schedule. This is an important moment to look back on the past year with employees, and to look ahead. Still, many managers are not prepared well enough for such a review. Make sure you don’t make these five mistakes!
1. Not making a clear distinction between a performance review and an assessment review
This is, of course, a rookie mistake, but it is of great importance. An annual review is often an assessment review, which means that the employee’s functioning, activities and attitude are discussed by you, as manager. The employee’s functioning is also the focus of a performance review, but the required result here is a plan for development and specific agreements between you and your employee about your collaboration in the future.
There is another important distinction: a performance review is a two-way street, while an assessment review is a one-way street. This is where you review whether or not the agreements that were made in the performance review have been met, and employment conditions like salary or promotion can be reformulated.
2. Mixing up procedure, process and content
These three aspects of an annual review should be clearly distinguished, and distinctly applied. The annual review begins with an explanation of the agenda. During the interview, you as manager are the one responsible for maintaining structure. If the review is an assessment review, it is necessary to mention that the review can influence the employment conditions.
Then, content. You have to know what you are saying, you have to give specific feedback and you have to communicate clearly what needs to be improved using the SMART criteria. Furthermore, you have to pay attention to the employee as a human being: the process. You have to know how to discuss matters and you have to be alert for relational aspects. If one of these three aspects is not applied correctly, the annual review will not be a success.
3. Not persisting to ask questions or deepening the conversation
Before or after you have given your assessment of the employee’s functioning, you ask his or her take on things. Whether he or she is functioning well or badly, this feedback is crucial. It is, however, not always easy to share this right away, so it is up to you to persist asking questions and deepening the conversation. If your employee is superficial in his or her reaction, you can get more information by using the LSD method. You can use this information later on, in making specific agreements for the future.
4. Ending up in ‘yes I did’, ‘no you did not’
This is a popular game mostly in elementary school, but it can also occur in an annual review if all the foregoing mistakes have been avoided. Then the employee is probably comfortable enough to give his or her opinion (which can be negative), and you have to handle this well. So do not get defensive, stay as objective as possible. You can use the job description for this. Remain understanding and inquisitive.
5. Being insecure in your assessment
If the assessment is negative, explain this in a clear and unwavering way. However, be sure to observe your employee’s emotional state. Sometimes you will have to reject a promotion or pay raise. Be serious and deliver the bad news instantly, so that it is clear that there is no more room for discussion. However, do give your employee the chance to react, and show compassion. This way you will maintain the upper hand in the review.
Do you want to prepare yourself or your team for your annual review? We offer you an efficient online training in order to do so. Get in touch to find out more!