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Professional Service Agreement

Performance Appraisal Tips

One of the tasks managers most dread is the performance appraisal process and the employee conference which is a key element of the process. Here are some tips to optimize the value of performance appraisals:

No surprises. Provide enough warning during the year so negative elements of a review don't come as a shock to an employee. Address performance deficiencies as they occur, and coach the employee for better results. A negative review should never come as a surprise.

Cushion criticism. The classic "sandwich" approach still works. If you have to give criticism, deliver it in between upbeat opening and closing remarks.

Share control of the conference. Let the employee set the time and date for the review. That one small gesture means workers immediately have a sense of power. When we feel we're in control, we're more likely to listen to feedback.

Solicit the individual's opinions. Make the review a two-way conversation, and the goal future good performance. That means not having anyone else in the room, letting workers weigh in on their own performance, and allowing them to participate in developing any improvement plan.

Millennials are different. Millennials (those born in the early 1980s to the late 1990s) will likely have different expectations. Those belonging to this generation like receiving feedback and actually want it more than once a year. As for the formal review, it's best to keep it casual. You may have better success if you approach the conversation as a coach, rather than as a boss.

When problems arise. Be ready to handle pushback and emotional reactions. Workers who cry or become emotional should be given the chance to leave the room and collect themselves before continuing the review.

SESCO Management Consultants is available to assist with your human resource issues. You may contact us by phone at 423-764-4127 or by email at