Almost all performance appraisals are painful and don’t result in better results, says HR firm PI Worldwide.

Most annual reviews are exercises in delayed feedback; they don’t motivate or drive improvement. But they can be fixed.

Managers can take a new approach: focusing on collaboration, professional development, coaching and empowerment.

Below are five best practices for performance reviews.

1. Take out the fear

One of the reasons people don’t like performance reviews is because they happen too infrequently – making it that much more daunting when they finally come around. Much can ride on the review, such as potential job advancement and a salary increase. By conducting more frequent reviews (formally and informally), it will be less intimidating and more timely and productive.

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2. Be objective

Consider the individual, her or his preferred work style and strengths prior to her or his performance review. This will provide a clearer view of the gap (if any) between the individual and the requirements of her or his role. Also, managers should understand their  own strengths, weaknesses and work styles to will help with their own objectivity during reviews.

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3. Understand workers’ motivations

When holding a performance review, managers should take time to think about the individual being reviewed: How will she or he take the feedback? What is causing her or his performance to excel or to fall off? What is her or his performance potential? Is she or he motivated by public recognition, salary, advancement, or flexibility on the job?

During the review, listen actively, reinforce positive behavior through feedback, ask open-ended questions and collaborate.

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4. Look to the Future

A performance review is the perfect opportunity to plan for the future and build out a career plan. Where does the employee see her- or himself in one or two years? What advancement opportunities interest her or him? Make sure employees see the possibility of future advancement at the company.

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5. Regularly re-evaluate job requirements

Armed with this information, a manager can confirm whether or not the behavioral requirements have changed or stayed the same, setting clear and current expectations to help the individual’s continued success.

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