5 Annual Review Tips for Managers

Managers, you are the key to the success or failure of the Annual Review process and by extension the success of your employees.  So it’s really important you understand a few fundamentals so you can make a positive impact at your company.

  1. Paper trail = Safety Net. When it comes time to dealing with a performance issue or a termination, good documentation is vital to substantiating a case. Without good, current documentation you are exposing the organization to the possibility of legal action by the employee, in the case of termination and/or undermining of the integrity of your performance management system, which will be perceived as arbitrary and unfair. Particularly in Canada, companies need proof to back up any actions.
  2. Be honest with people. If you have something difficult to say, say it.  Its way more important you tell employees the truth than lie to them about performance.  Remember that paper trial?  Failure to address performance issues is unfair to the employee, the employee’s co-workers and the organization. It also leaves the manager having to spend more time on continually addressing the aftermath of a poor performer. Employees need to know (and I would wager…want to know) how they are performing.  It is a key component to becoming a better employee.
  3. Provide feedback year round, don’t save up. If you have a folder of documents you’re saving up for the annual review and the employee doesn’t know about any of it – shame on you.  You’re doing a great disservice to your company and the employee.  Plus, younger employees tend to really appreciate regular, short feedback.
  4. Talk about the positive too. Annual Reviews are not just about problems or complaints, so make sure you talk about what is working.  If you only discuss negative issues with an employee you intend to keep, its going to be tremendously de-motivating.
  5. Don’t compare employees. For example, “If only you did reports like Jim does.”  The performance review is for the benefit of the employee and not anyone else.  There should be no comparisons or discussions about other employee’s performance. This is one of the fastest ways for a manager to lose the trust and support of the employee. The employee can justifiably assume that the manager has breached confidentiality.

Next up in for our series of annual review posts, we’ll discuss alternatives to the whole annual review process.

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