To prepare for a formal review you need to take the following steps:
- Plan effectively in advance
- Set the right objectives
- Brief your colleague
- Give yourself time to prepare
- Learn how to gather information in a systematic, objective manner
- Prepare yourself and your staff emotionally
- Shape the review agenda with effective goals which you share and agree
Performance reviews are valuable tools for performance management. They communicate performance expectations clearly and set realistic, reasonable tasks and deadlines.
Preparing for a formal review involves looking at those back over those processes which manage and monitor staff performance. These processes include performance expectations – focusing on results and goals to achieve. And behavioural expectations – focusing on expected values, behaviours and attitudes. The process of setting expectations can involve individual target setting, team plans, department plans and overall organisational strategy. These are all integral parts of project management and it is the managers role to communicate effectively and get the best from their staff.
Plan effectively in advance
How has the employee been performing? Look back over past objectives and targets. Did they reach them? If not why not? Feedback isn’t always positive. As a manager you will have to deal with difficult conversations and topics from time to time. However, when handled well, this can be an excellent opportunity to create a better understanding, generate greater motivation and improve performance. Critical to this is ‘constructive’ criticism. Criticism without direction or discussion is simple de-motivating.
2. Set the right objectives
Where are you going next? Do previous objectives need to be revisited with more support and different timescales or can you move on to new objectives? What are they? Can the employee be challenged further or do they need less pressure? Consider the employee holistically. How have they fared with their previous objectives. Use all the information you have to set the right objectives.
3. Brief your colleague
Make sure your employee is given ample time to prepare themselves for the review. If there are difficult conversations to be had, make sure they are given warning of this.
4. Give yourself time to prepare
Project management often involves the managing a team, they are the best asset you have and should be treated as such. So don’t make communication an afterthought. Good, well constructed and considered feedback, constructive criticism and careful planning can generate greater motivation and improve performance. Achieving this involves giving your team members the attention they deserves. Other matters can wait.
5. Gather information in a systematic, objective way
Take emotion, hearsay, personal opinion and bias out of the matter. Deal with the facts of the situation in an ordered and systematic way.
6. Prepare yourself and your staff emotionally
Performance reviews can be difficult. If an employee is not performing well they can be an unpleasant experience for all concerned. Mangers mustn’t shy away from challenging situations but address them head on. Well thought out and constructed feedback will help the employee get back on track and feel valued and appreciated as you have taken the time and effort to work with them to resolve their issues.
7. Shape the review agenda with effective goals which you share and agree
Setting effective goals should be a team effort. By including your employee you are connecting them to the overall aim. They will feel valued, included, committed. But be clear to retain control to avoid confusion and lack of direction. Your role as manager is to steer your team member in the right direction.
Engage in Learning’s Performance Management Pathway courses will introduce you to ways to develop a motivated, high performance workforce and how to set achievable expectations. The Preparing for a Formal Review module will assist you in learning how to get prepared before a formal review and learn how to give yourself the best chance of success.