5 Tips for Conducting Effective Year-End Reviews

November 27, 2018

For most companies, the end of the year is not only a season of holiday celebrations, but it is also a time of evaluation and preparation.  Performance reviews give employers/managers the opportunity to critique and congratulate employees and receive honest feedback in return. Though these discussions can be difficult and uncomfortable, conducting year-end reviews are critical to your team’s growth and morale.

Most importantly, performance reviews should NOT be handled carelessly.  Check out these 4 tips for conducting effective year-end performance reviews:

  1. Determine performance review format: Whether you structure the review around goals you set together or around major projects, determine a structure that works for you and your team. Be sure your team understands the review format and process. Nothing about the evaluation—from the content to the timing—should ever come as a surprise. Once you’ve done this, it will be easier to develop talking points for each employee.
  2. Prepare talking points: Planning will help you deliver comprehensive feedback. Rather than throwing together top-of-mind, out-of-context comments, take time to develop key talking points—both positive and negative. Recognize accomplishments and reinforce positive performance but be upfront about the areas that need improvement. Be specific and provide context on these performance issues to avoid confusion or miscommunication.
  3. Ask employees to conduct a self-evaluation: Employees should also prepare for the performance review. Ask your team members to conduct a self-evaluation of their performance and progress prior to the meeting. This not only helps employees feel like they have a say in the process, but it also challenges them to take an honest look at their own work behavior.
  4. Engage employees in a two-way discussion: When it’s time to sit down with your employee for the official review, create a conversation instead of dominating the meeting with criticism. Give your employee the opportunity to speak up and offer feedback. Discuss his/her strengths and weaknesses in the context of his/her achievements throughout the year.
  5. Set goals and expectations for the upcoming year: An important part of the performance review is to work with your team to create a written plan for career growth. They need to understand what is expected of them in their roles. Establish goals to challenge your employees and serve as a benchmark for performance throughout the year.

Overall, with a plan in place, you’ll be ready to have a meaningful and effective conversation with each member of your team. Sometimes, despite all the preparation and best of intentions, the year-end review can result in a disenchanted employee or possible turnover.  If you find yourself facing the challenges of filling a vacated seat on your team, give ITAC a call. We’re here to help you find a short-term solution to keep the work from piling up or provide a slate of candidates to take your team to the next level.


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