What makes a great end of year performance review?


08 December 2017


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What makes a great end of year performance review?

As we approach the end of the year, performance reviews will be taking place across many organisations. Although we recommend that performance feedback should happen regularly, typically people wait to hold these larger and more detailed conversations at the end of the year. Because of the infrequency of these conversations, it can be a hard skill to master and that’s why we’ve asked some of our experts, Elaine White, Christian Thing and Daryl Seager for their top tips for holding a great end of year performance review.

1. Get different opinions

Christian Thing, Principal Consultant, believes that having objective data from multiple perspectives allows for a great performance review. When you are reviewing someone’s performance ensure that you don’t only offer your opinion. Ask anyone who has worked closely with the individual to review their performance and develop your feedback by encompassing all of this information.

2. Connect on a personal level

Elaine White, Principal Consultant, suggests that these conversations should be kept conversational to encourage the individual to be open and honest leading to a more constructive outcome. Plus, the more enjoyable the conversation is, the less it will feel like a box ticking exercise. One of our Trainers, Daryl Seager, added that rather than diving straight into feedback for the individual, you should consider connecting on a personal level first. Perhaps ask, how’s their life outside of work? Or, what interesting things have they done since you last spoke?

 3. Listen

It’s easy to jump straight into how you are thinking and feeling about the individual’s performance. But Elaine suggests that an important part of this review is to hear what they are thinking and how they think their year has gone. Ask questions that encourage the individual to give their own assessment of their performance. Find out what they’ve learnt, development activities they’ve undertaken, their highs and their lows, etc. By listening to them you can ensure that your feedback is constructive as you can focus on their development areas that they are less aware of.

4. No surprises

Another of Elaine’s recommendations is to ensure there are no surprises in a performance review. You shouldn’t bring in any new information. Instead, you should use the conversation to summarise and confirm all the feedback that’s been given during the year and point out what they bring to their role that is unique. This highlights the importance in not saving all your feedback for the end of the year but rather regularly reviewing behaviour.

 5. Be Specific

Christian also highlighted that broad feedback is of little use when setting next year’s objective goals so make sure that you are specific with the advice you give. Great feedback should review specific behaviours and explain what the individual can do to improve that behaviour.

6. Have a future focus

The importance of reflecting on the year’s progress is so that suitable goals can be set for the following year. Elaine recommends that you spend time focusing on the coming year and what development they should achieve. Daryl added that you should think about how the individual can reach these goals and how you can support them.

7. Don’t just give it, receive it

As a leader, you play a vital role in the working lives of those you lead. Your behaviours and attitudes will influence how they perform and what they achieve. Elaine and Daryl believe that there is importance in taking time at the end of the conversation to explore how they felt about your support this year. Did you provide everything they expected? Think about and discuss with them what they need from you in the coming year to help them achieve their goals.

Make your end of year reviews productive and successful by incorporating some of these top tips. Reviewing performance is an important step in an individual’s development and by giving these conversations the attention they require will ensure that your people continue to excel into 2018. Although it is often hard to find the time for performance reviews throughout the year, we believe that there is a lot of value in holding regular feedback sessions. As you review this year’s performance and plan for 2018 consider increasing the regularity of these conversations to make 2018’s end-of-year performance review even more meaningful.

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