5 Examples of Inspiring End-Of-Year Performance Reviews

Now that we’re getting back to normal (famous last words) on the work front, face-to-face performance reviews are likely to make a comeback. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Sitting across from your employee to give them an annual review can actually be easier and convey a lot more than a written report would…

Now that we’re getting back to normal (famous last words) on the work front, face-to-face performance reviews are likely to make a comeback. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Sitting across from your employee to give them an annual review can actually be easier and convey a lot more than a written report would – so it’s a good idea to start scheduling them in with your team.
 
That said, performance reviews are evolving – and what you used to do might not serve you and your employees. In one study, a whopping 96 percent of managers admitted they were dissatisfied with their organisation’s performance management practices, so it might be worth looking at whether there are things you could do differently in your review process.
 

Tips on structuring a performance review

 
If you’re conducting face-to-face performance reviews, experts say it’s a good idea to think of this as a kind of ‘sandwich’ – starting and ending with the positives, and inserting any negative ingredients in the middle. That’ll enable your employee to take on board things they need to work on, while also ending the performance review on a positive note.
 
Also, be open to what your employee has to say, and realise how unsettling a performance review can be. That person is listening to their past work year summed up in one review, while also hoping for a payrise – which is about as far out of your comfort zone as it gets. 
 
There’s also no rule book that says you have to conduct annual performance reviews or even be as heavily involved in the process as you might think. Here are five ideas for different performance reviews which might prove more inspiring and motivating to your employees than the current model you’re operating with.
 

5 ideas for inspiring performance reviews

 
1. Simplify the annual review Some reviews can get bogged down in all kinds of metrics and calculations to determine an employee’s overall ‘score’ – but not every employer has time for that, right? Instead, consider a simplified process where you review an employee on 4-6 sections only, including categories such as ability, goals, areas for improvement and core values. You could then use the scores from those categories to determine pay rises.
 
2. Make the annual review a quarterly one Many companies are now in favour of turning performance reviews into an ongoing conversation between you and your employees throughout the year (say quarterly), rather than a loaded annual review that’s uncomfortable and potentially less effective. Some studies suggest that quarterly reviews may offer more accurate reporting of the employee performance and be more motivating (and less scary) to your staff.
 
3. Enable self-performance reviews With this method, employees have the opportunity to assess themselves using similar methods that their manager might, prior to an official review meeting. It enables staff to share their thoughts about the job, their goals, reflect on their achievements and milestones, (eg, ‘I generated $50,000 of new business in the past quarter’ or ‘I wrote three blog posts that doubled our monthly traffic by X percent’). They can also think about any aspects of the role they may be finding difficult (eg ‘I recognise that lockdown has resulted in less pitching to new leads and I’ve established a goal of pitching to 3 new leads per week going forward’). They can also rate themselves on the specific skillset required for their job. Use a template with thoughtful questions to prompt honest answers.
 
4. Conduct annual self-evaluation reviews Similar to the self-performance reviews an employee might do prior to a performance review meeting, this option enables employees to answer questions to show their understanding of the role and its expectations, the responsibilities required and the performance managers are looking for. They can also have a think about their goals, core values and skills they’d like to build on in the future. This type of self-evaluation is also a chance for the employee to offer honest insights on how the scope of the role might be changing (ie, if the employee is doing things outside the original job description).
 
5. Create remote performance reviews While many employees are heading back to the office, many staff will probably continue to work flexibly or remotely, and that may affect how you structure your performance review, too. You’ll probably want to do it via video, and to set the tone by making it clear the review is a two-way conversation to recognise the employee’s milestones and accomplishments, look at areas they might need to improve and establish goals for the future – perhaps also bringing in aspects of how the virtual workplace may have changed the job they do and addressing struggles they may be having.