At Venngage, our team is at the heart of everything we do as a company – whether it is developing new features for our tool, increasing our international reach or meeting customer needs.
As our focus is always on people, we are passionate about continuous learning and improvement, self-reflection, creating a great customer experience , working as a team and making our office feel like a second home.
It is not surprising that our leadership team devotes so much time at the end of each quarter to conducting performance reviews with each of its direct reports. Here are some things we learned about how to conduct effective performance reviews:
Make it clear at the beginning of a new hire how and when employees will be evaluated. This should be part of your onboboarding process and is especially important if you are managing a remote team/
Allow employees to prepare by completing an individual assessment prior to their analysis, and then allow him or her to explain to the manager the reasoning behind their individual assessment. Deliver a positive, solution-focused message (whenever possible), this will result in a less discouraging message.
To make the most of the assessment conversation with your employee, it is important to avoid:
Give general and vague feedback; be specific about what behaviors you want the employee to continue to exhibit, and which ones they should stop or explore further.
Make things personal; feedback should be based on actions and behavior, not on the individual person.
Loaded language; focus on asking what and how , not why . Asking why someone acted in a certain way is similar to searching for a ‘reason’ and may seem like an accusation.
How to do a performance review
Running an employee-friendly performance appraisal process will not only determine whether your employees’ development will be driven or halted, but it will also avoid damaging the relationship between managers and their subordinates.
In addition to creating a solid performance assessment strategy and form, managers should also consider delivering the analysis. Communicating a performance appraisal effectively is the finishing touch to carry out a constructive, commemorative and effective appraisal process.
When creating an effective performance appraisal, it is important to:
Determine an overall rating for the employee; Although a manager can highlight the strengths and weaknesses of an employee’s behavior, it is important to communicate how the average is calculated on this rating scale.
Ensure that employees are involved in their own assessments; therefore, be sure to include employee goals and developments to achieve those goals in assessments.
Celebrate employee improvements; highlighting breakthrough points is a powerful way to impact employee engagement and improve overall team performance.
Include company culture and values; dedicate a section of the assessment to assess how employees align with core corporate values, contributing to a positive company culture.
Based on my involvement in creating the effective performance appraisal process at Venngage, I suggest taking the following steps into account when building a performance appraisal:
1. Set expectations in advance
Early in an employee’s career at a company, managers must communicate the details of their review process and their expectations. This should be included in the employee’s manual, for example.
In this sense, managers define and communicate clear expectations of the main functions and competencies of the position as soon as possible. The information presented in the performance reviews must be in line with this definition and use familiar language and terms. This strategy will work to eliminate possible confusion or surprises for both parties.
2. Don’t take it personally
Feedback should be based on the employee’s actions and behavior, not on the person.
When writing a performance appraisal, it is useful to analyze the issue (or issues) you have included and ensure that they apply to the employee’s actions and behavior, not to his or her personal attributes.
This will also help to deal with the information mentioned in the assessment, to ensure that it is relevant and appropriate.
3. Beware of prejudices and limitations
While there may be a general “right” way of doing things, there are often several (equally good) ways to achieve the same end goal.
Make sure your opinion is not biased or limited in favor of your work style and personal beliefs. Try to consider the various aspects of the role and experience of employees that can affect your decision to look for alternative methods or work habits. Be empathetic with these factors when writing your review.
4. Be specific
The information presented in the assessment must be focused on the task, be clear and objective.