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Performance reviews are an essential part of organizational and individual productivity, focussed on a review of team member performance. When properly given, they can boost communication, engagement, and productivity. When mistakes are made, the negative impact can lead to a team member becoming disconnected and looking for work elsewhere.

Conducting team member reviews is one of the manager’s most important responsibilities. If you want to make your evaluation successful, avoid these common mistakes.

The Wrong Manager

Having a performance review delivered by someone who has little day-to-day experience with the team member is never a good idea. The manager who works most often with the team member is the best choice to provide a convincing and honest performance review.

Not Preparing

Many managers have a problem with procrastinating about performance reviews until the last minute, then trying to get them done as quickly as possible. team members are usually aware of when their review is just a check-the-box exercise for their manager. Both parties lose since the team member comes away with very little feedback or information about how to improve their performance.  Material accomplishments and opportunities for improvement must all be acknowledged.

Relying on Memory

A performance review should be well documented over time, and not based on memory. This is especially important when a team member challenges an item in the review. To avoid disagreements, both manager and team member should keep records on goals met, professional development, opportunities for improvement, and other milestones that are pertinent to the review.

Failure to Provide Timely Feedback to “Course Correct” Prior to Year End

Managers should provide staff timely feedback so staff have time to “course correct” prior to a year-end review.  Check-ins, or quarterly 1:1’s help provide the mechanism for this.

The Recency Effect Error

Managers who don’t prepare for reviews throughout the year tend to focus on the most recent things a team member has done. Outstanding efforts from months previous aren’t even mentioned, but the manager is ready to discuss the past few weeks. This tendency to remember the most recent events are known as the Recency Effect. It’s one of the most frustrating performance review mistakes for team members since it’s often the cause of inaccurate performance ratings.

Not Enough Detail

Never give a team member a rating or grade without providing pertinent information about the basis for the rating. Feedback, whether positive or negative, needs to be specific. Instead of using vague terms, it needs to include enough detail to be convincing. This means managers need to pay attention to each team member and take notes about performance throughout the year.

Not Being Honest

Some managers find it challenging to deliver criticism, even when a team member is not performing at an acceptable level. Not being honest about negative feedback doesn’t give the team member room to improve. It can also leave them confused if they don’t receive the raise or bonus they’re expecting. On the flip side, not being able to give honest praise is just as harmful. team members who don’t feel noticed can lose focus and motivation.

Doing All the Talking

A performance review should be a conversation rather than a one-way monologue on the part of the manager. Allow team members to self-evaluate their own performance and comment on feedback. As difficult as it may be to hear, team members should also have a chance to provide feedback on how they’re being managed. Supporting two-way communication during the performance review can lead to constructive changes on both sides.  With the aforementioned said, the performance review is the rater’s review of the ratee, not the other way round.  The ratee must embrace feedback on accomplishments and opportunities for improvement with equal measure.

Focussing on Personality Traits

A useful performance review should focus on results rather than on personality traits. Evaluating a team member on qualities like leadership or dependability is a subjective exercise, so it’s better to focus on directly observable behaviors, facts, data, outcomes, and results that can be measured objectively.  With the aforementioned said, commonly held perceptions are part of a team member’s brand, and whether agreed with or not, are also part of the performance appraisal process.

Failing to Create a Plan of Action (POA)

At the end of a performance review, the manager and team member should create an action plan for the upcoming year. It may include professional development goals, future assignments, and other measurable objectives. If a team member has asked about a promotion, it should include a roadmap for getting there. It can also define the resources and mentoring the manager will provide.

No Post-Review Follow-up

The performance review is meant to be part of a feedback and improvement process that takes place throughout the year. It should include goal-setting for the upcoming year, but these goals shouldn’t be set aside and forgotten after the review meeting ends. Throughout the year, schedule regular check-ins to discuss a team member’s progress towards their goals.

Correcting these mistakes may not make performance reviews any easier, but it will make them more effective and reduce the chance of doing more harm than good.

No Continuous Improvement of the Performance Appraisal Process

The performance review process must be reviewed annually as well, constantly seeking to make the process more meaningful for the rate, focusing on facts.    

Performance reviews are exceptionally important to the functionality of a team. To learn more about how coAmplifi can assist your business in other areas, check out our beta testing for our new software launching in the Summer of 2021!


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