Ten Ways to Fail at Giving Performance Reviews

Susan* was hurt and exasperated, understandably so. She had just gotten fired over a seemingly insignificant detail. The bad part was, she’d had a sense that things weren’t going well at work, but she wasn’t quite sure what to do about it. Her last performance review had been very positive, but then her boss had quit, and in subsequent months, Susan had gotten shuffled around till she was confused about who was really in charge of her. In the process, her engagement level had plummeted. Susan had lost her focus and, without direction from her managers, become ineffective, scattering her efforts between whichever departments would give her positive feedback.

Eric Jackson, contributing author to Forbes, writes, “People aren’t usually resentful if they’re laid off because the company is suddenly facing a crisis not of their own making (which isn’t usually the case). However, what drives people up the wall is when it’s clear that the boss has been bothered by some aspect of their performance, but never bothered to mention it to them until the time of their firing.”

I’ve often wondered what would have happened had the manager who was actually in charge of Susan stepped up, pulled out her performance review, and refocused Susan on her goals as Dr. Paul Marciano suggests in his book Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work:Build a Culture of Employee Engagement. He talks about creating a culture of respect–that is, employers’ respect for their employees–and giving timely, specific feedback meant not to embarrass but to reinforce and improve performance. A performance review is a great opportunity to clearly establish expectations, set goals, and prioritize objectives.

As a hiring manager, depending on your own experience with performance reviews, you may love or hate the task of conducting performance reviews. If you dread the thought, cheer up! They don’t have to be a total aggravation, if you pay attention to these ten mistakes to avoid.

Is your company morale suffering? Tap into the power of affirmation!

*Not her real name.

By Marcianne Kuethen, Marketing Director

Article originally published on Forbes.com by Eric Jackson.

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