It’s tempting to treat performance reviews like a perfunctory management task. But, when you do them well — with care and intention — they can help your employees not only perform better but feel valued and engaged. Here are five steps to lead a productive conversation.
- Convey positive intent. Whether you’re speaking with an all-star employee or a chronic underachiever, start by stating that your goal is to set them up for future success.
- Describe specifically what you have observed. The more specific and descriptive your feedback, the more likely your employee is to understand what you’re hoping they’ll start, stop, and continue doing.
- State the impact of their behaviors and actions. Lay out the cause and effect. For example, rather than saying, “You didn’t connect with the buyer,” try, “You interrupted people in the meeting, and this resulted in the buyer being less open to listening to your ideas.”
- Ask how your feedback is landing. This isn’t simply a polite thing to do. It allows your direct report to challenge your assumptions, add relevant context, and communicate important information that you might not have been privy to.
- Address the question: Now what? Be clear about next steps and what exactly you will be tracking, measuring, and assessing in the coming year — as well as what kind of support you can offer moving forward.