Offering Constructive Feedback for Performance Reviews
Performance reviews highlight the areas where your staff excels. But they also reveal the areas in which they fall behind. Instead of tearing down bad behavior or shunning poor performance, however, try to offer constructive feedback that will empower and encourage your staff to make the necessary changes and get back on track.
Recognize the Positives
Perhaps the best way to gently approach a negative situation is to build on a positive foundation. For example, if an employee is having issues with communication, you could address it by saying,
“You were so good at keeping me updated on X project, but I haven’t been seeing that kind of communication on your last few assignments. Would you mind sending me daily updates like you’ve done in the past? I found those incredibly helpful.”
By highlighting a specific moment when your employee displayed the behavior you want to see, you can remind them just how capable they are of doing so again.
Clearly State the Issue
To avoid confusion and get to the root of your concern, clearly define the problem area and list specific instances, if necessary. In addition to informing your employee on what the issue is, express the significance by detailing how it can affect them and their team by using phrases like:
- “This issue can lead to poor productivity amongst the rest of the team.”
- “I’m worried that this issue might be affecting your ability to best manage your tasks.”
- “When this issue happens, it can make it hard for other members of the department to focus.”
By clearly stating the issue and its consequences, you can encourage your employee to assume responsibility, recognize the issue, and revise their behavior.
Try to Personally Help
Phrasing things in an inclusive way will make your employees feel that you’re personally invested in seeing their improvements. Try rewording your verbiage to include yourself whenever possible by saying things like:
- “Is there anything I can do to help prevent this from happening again?”
- “What can we do to improve your performance in this area?”
- “Let’s create a plan together so we can meet and reevaluate it in the future.”
Inputting yourself in the situation allows you to not only show personal support as a manager, but also reassure your employee that you’re serious about solving the issue.
Address Any Questions
Before ending any evaluation, make it a priority to address questions and concerns. When addressing specific problem areas, show that you’re dedicated to understanding your employee’s perspective by asking questions like:
- “Did you also notice this particular issue?”
- “What do you think could be the cause of this issue?”
- “What do you think we should do to solve it moving forward?”
To feel confident that you’ve comprehensively covered the problem, let your employee know exactly how they can reach you if they have questions about the subject in the future.
Offer Your Own Tips
If you’ve ever experienced problem similar to your employee, explain that they aren’t alone. When an employee struggles with time management, for example, you could say,
“I’ve also had issues with time management. Here’s what has helped me to get my schedule in order.”
And even if you don’t have personal experience with an issue your employee is dealing with, you can still offer your honest insight and detail strategies you’ve seen success with in the past.
Guidance for Your Management Team
When you’re ready to rethink the way you give employee performance reviews, partner with Professional Employer Resources (PER). Because we’re a human resources provider, we offer guidance to management teams in a variety of professional practices. If you’re struggling with performance evaluations in particular, our team can help you with troubleshooting employee issues, creating employee surveys, and customizing training seminars. To learn more, contact us today.