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Conducting performance reviews? Use these tips to react to employee's emotional responses

by , 03 September 2013
You already know that performance reviews, also known as performance appraisals, are essential as they help you measure your employee's performance. Unfortunately, not all performance review meetings run smoothly. That's because employees act very differently when they're under stress. And review meetings can bring out the worst in your employees. Use these tips to react to employee's emotional responses so you can hold an effective and meaningful performance review meeting.

Do you have an employee who always gives you a hard time in performance reviews?

If so, the best preparation for difficult performance reviews is to pre-empt your employee's reaction and decide beforehand how you'll deal with it.

Here are some tips on how to react to employee's emotional responses during a performance review meeting

Situation1: Shouting, swearing and abusive language

In the situation, the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service, advises you to be firm and make it clear that you're in control of the meeting.

Use a strong but controlled voice. DON'T shout, swear or be abusive yourself. Use clipped, concise words that indicate a clear intolerance for such behaviour.

For example, say: That's enough, Jim. I won't tolerate abusive behaviour. I'm treating you with respect and you'll show me the same courtesy. I remind you that this is your place of employment and that your behaviour must reflect the company's code of conduct at all times. Now, let's all take a deep breath and calm down. Sit back down and let's pick up where we left off. I'll give you ample opportunity to speak once I have finished what I have to say. So where were we?

In this case, consider whether disciplinary action might be appropriate to send a strong message that abusive behaviour won't be tolerated.

Situation 2: Sullen, disinterested, non-responsive behaviour

In this situation, force participation. Ask open-ended questions and give him ample time to answer. Be patient. Don't jump in with a comment when he doesn't respond immediately.

Use the silence to create discomfort. He'll eventually break by saying something.

These types of responses can often be even more challenging to deal with than anger or abusive responses, so draft a list of possible questions that could assist you to draw out a response under these circumstances.

For instance, say: You rated your performance on this goal as exceeding customer's expectations. I've shown you the feedback from two of our clients that indicate their unhappiness with your service to them. What do you think you could have done differently for what they were expecting?

Don't jump in if your employee doesn't answer, use silence. If you start to feel uncomfortable, so will they. And if you don't break the silence, they will.

Situation 3: Tearful, whining or pathetic (child-like) behaviour

Offer your employee a tissue, if appropriate and empathise with him but don't succumb to the emotional blackmail.

Acknowledge their emotion but don't allow it to cloud the discussion. If he's really distraught, call a very short break and offer him the opportunity to take a five minute bathroom break to compose himself.

Once he's back in the meeting, get right back into the discussion. Say, for example: I can see that you're distressed. Here's a tissue to wipe your eyes. Let's take a short break so that you can go to the bathroom and regroup. We need to complete this review so let's resume again in 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes have passed, say for instance, So, where were we? Oh, yes, we were discussing the Hardy shipment.

Remember that planning is essential when it comes to performance reviews. Using these tips will help you react to your employee's emotional responses so you can hold a fruitful performance review meeting.

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