8+1 Tips for Performance Reviews. How to provide more valuable feedback | by Zaharenia Atzitzikaki | Nov, 2022

How to provide more valuable feedback

photo by lindsay henwood Feather unsplash

In this issue, we’ll explore how you can improve the process of writing a performance review. We’ll go through tips for preparing, writing, and communicating your feedback to your direct reports. Everything below is based on my experience and knowledge, so your mileage may vary.

Practice giving frequent feedback throughout the year. Even if you don’t explicitly follow a CPM, you can still make a practice of consistently providing feedback to your team. Your direct reports should not be surprised by what they hear during your annual review. If there’s a surprise, it’s a sign that you didn’t give your feedback when it was timely (and useful) to do so.

Avoid recency bias. This is some of the most common advice on performance appraisals. Look beyond your direct reports’ performance over the past month and make sure they are fairly evaluated based on the work they’ve done throughout the year. to reduce the risks of novelty bias, I take copious daily notes. Whatever may come up throughout the week goes on my list, which I communicate with weekly through 1:1 meetings. I write both positive and corrective feedback with dates and specific examples. When it comes time to write the actual review, I already have a list of arguments I can use to illustrate my points.

Don’t start from a blank slate. Writing a review is nerve-wracking; It’s no wonder that your fear of the blank page goes into overdrive every time you start. In addition to keeping daily notes, you can also start by evaluating whether your direct reports met last year’s objectives. Look at the areas of development you’ve decided to work on and measure your progress. If you do this only to find that many previous annual review objectives are obsolete, then perhaps it’s time to switch to a newer, more flexible method of performance management.

Ask their co-workers for feedback. Another tool that can help you fill in the gaps in your performance appraisal reports 360 Feedback Survey, They don’t need to be super complicated to be helpful. my usual method is setting up a TYPEFORM With three simple questions:

  • What should Jane Doe continue to do?
  • What should Jane Doe start doing?
  • What should Jane Doe stop doing?

These questions are specific enough to help you collect actionable feedback but harmless enough for people not to feel they destroy someone’s chance for a promotion or pay raise. I send this form to everyone other than me who works close to my direct reports. This may include developers, product managers, marketing managers, salespeople, etc. You want to make sure you send these out about a month or two before you start writing your reviews, so people have enough time to respond. Remember that you will need at least one follow-up email because people will forget.

Share your review before the meeting. Or not. There are two conflicting schools of thought about when you should share your review document with your direct reports, each with its pros and cons. You can share your review with them before your meeting, giving them enough time to review it at least once. This method gives them time to prepare, but on the other hand, it leaves your response open to misinterpretation and can lead to defensiveness. Or you can share their review after your meeting to make sure they’re fully focused on what you’re saying. The disadvantage is that people may come to the meeting overly alert and stressed about what they are about to hear. Be sure to communicate this clearly to your team, no matter which method you choose.

Everyone thinks of corrective feedback. Most people will leave their rated review first only to find negative feedback, glossing over any praise. Despite everyone’s best efforts, corrective feedback often causes people to react defensively. To help them, try to frame the appraisal review as the beginning of the conversation, not the end. Aim for “Here’s what we’ll focus on over the course of the next year,” not “Here are the ways in which your skills are lacking.” It’s easier for employees to acquire a growth mindset if you clearly explain to them that reviews are a means of identifying growth areas, not a punishment for achieving arbitrary standards.

Be sure to recap. The conversation in the review meeting may flow organically, and your direct reports may lose sight of the specific points you made. Make sure you take some time before the end of the session to reiterate key feedback points and agree on areas of growth and shared objectives.

Keep all annual reviews in one place. You don’t need to use special software for performance evaluation. You can use a simple Google Doc and share the review as you see fit. Just make sure that after sharing, you move the reviews to a specific shared folder that will only be available to the relevant team member. It is easy to go back to previous review cycles and check progress that way.

Iterate on the set objectives. What you agreed upon during the meeting is not set in stone. If there is a change in company strategy or a reorganization, you should re-think the objectives of all affected team members. Don’t let review deliverables go stale; Check progress from time to time and make changes as needed.

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