It’s an event employees don’t look forward to experiencing and many supervisors cringe having to do. What is this common feared experience? It’s a performance review. There really is no reason for either party to feel bad about doing a performance review. If certain guidelines are followed, the process can be turned from a fearful event to a positive experience.

If you are the employee, keep copious notes of major projects that you are assigned and the results achieved. These project assignments are important in that the results you achieve impact your overall rating. Supervisors should also monitor projects assigned to employees. They have an obligation to be truthful to employees. Knowing exactly how well a job was done is critical to providing an honest assessment of performance.

Progressive institutions let employees complete their performance reviews and their rating is compared to the supervisor rating. This is an excellent way to check everyone’s thinking about job performance. This technique requires that everyone give the required attention to completing the review.

There are fourteen steps that you can use to make the next performance review better and more effective. This process was But, having been through the process with multiple employees over my 27 years corporate career, this is certainly a process that I would favor.

1. Provide a copy of the form to each employee and have them complete the form. This opens the door for agreement and/or disagreement on an evaluation point.

2. Provide sufficient advance notice to the employees on when the review will take place. This allows them time to prepare as well.

3. The setting should be private, non-threatening and comfortable. The process should not be rushed. Allow sufficient time so both parties can thoroughly cover every point of concern.

4. Supervisors conducting the review should be very well prepared on their talking points. This is not a time to adlib. Make it a positive event by being considerate with words and mannerism. Tact is as important as honestly. But remember that truthfulness should never be compromised.

5. Don’t generalize with your comments. Be very specific. Beating around the bush is a wasted exercise that profits no one. Workers are entitled to know exactly why you rated them as you did. If you use a numerical rating scale, provide input to help employees reach the maximum possible rating on each point.

6. Appraise the job, as it should be performed. If no job description exists, this task is difficult. Progressive supervisors have through job descriptions for every employee. That is the standard upon which reviews are based.

7. Have employees list what they consider to be their top five job functions. Supervisors should do the same. During the review, compare notes. This can be a very revealing activity that will bring clarity to job expectations following the review process. This need not be repeated in the future unless job functions and/or responsibilities changed since the last review period.

8. Employees should have the opportunity to share their thoughts on your commentary. This is not a one-way conversation. Active listening on the part of both parties is also important during this process.

9. Ask open-ended questions such as how they feel about their work, what they might suggest to make it more pleasant, or how they see their future growth pattern.

10. At the end of the process, the supervisor should present a well-developed list of action steps that address areas needing improvement. This becomes the training model until the next review. Be supportive of this process by allowing time for these activities to be done. There is no purpose for proposing a growth plan and then not allowing the plan to be implemented. If the employee brings up a good suggestion for training, adding it to the list can be a strong motivator for the employee to buy into the entire plan.

11. Close the process by making sure the employee thoroughly understands every point reviewed and the improvement plan presented. Make the end a friendly and positive closing.

12. Following closure, the supervisor must carry out follow-up activities. Failing to track activities assigned will lower your leadership credibility.

13. Don’t wait until next year to provide feedback on performance. That should be an ongoing process each day a worker is present.

14. Constantly evaluate how well you’ve performed the review and always strive to make the next session better.

If there are high stress levels in workers when their work is reviewed or if the process used is very casual and non-specific, adaptation of the steps described in this article can be a positive change. Make your review process professional and positive. Workers deserve no less and supervisors should do no less.

Author's Bio: 

Billy Arcement, MEd., The Leadership Strategist, is a seasoned Professional Speaker, Leadership Strategist and President of The Results Group. He wrote the book, Searching for Success. Learn more about his services at or call him directly at 225-677-9426. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved. Use by permission.