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Performance reviews: Use these eight tips to give effective performance feedback to your employees

by , 01 October 2013
One of the most challenging parts of a performance review is when you give your employees feedback. That's because feedback can be misunderstood and cause unnecessary tension in your company. To make sure this doesn't happen, use these eight tips to give effective feedback after performance reviews.

According to the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management, the only way your employees will get better at what they do is when you give sincere and timely performance feedback.

It's important that you know how to give feedback because it's a core part of your performance review process.

Without good feedback, your employees will carry on doing the wrong thing and stop your company from performing efficiently.

Use these eight tips to make sure you and your employee get the most out of performance review feedback

Tip#1: Carefully select the appropriate meeting place and its environment

Ensure the following for your meeting place:

  • Pick a quiet office, preferably one away from the work area and your office.
  • Close any blinds or curtains to eliminate distractions and ensure privacy.
  • Ensure you're not interrupted during the feedback session. Ensure calls are diverted and your support staff is aware they mustn't interrupt you unnecessarily.
  • Place two chairs in the centre of the room, away from the desks or tables.
  • Make sure the door is closed before you start to ensure the session remains private.

Tip #2: Have all the necessary documentation on hand for the feedback session

Make sure you have all the documentation you'll need to support your feedback, both positive and negative.

Make good and very detailed notes of the information you want to cover in the session

You should use any evidence that'll support your argument that the performance is either good or below standard.

Look at evidence including, assessments, production figures, notations of missed deadlines, feedback from customers and your monthly reports.

Tip #3: Don't assume that your employee is aware of his performance problems

Don't assume your employee is aware of his performance problem or what he'll need to do to fix it.

In addition, don't presume that he'll perform appropriately after the feedback session or know when he's done a good job.

You must explain every step clearly and have regular feedback sessions until you've resolved the problem.

Tip #4: Don't only give negative feedback

Don't see feedback as a short-term measure to deal with problem staff only. Use the same feedback techniques to give positive feedback too.

Make regular feedback sessions a part of your management style. Foster an environment in which giving and receiving feedback is the norm.

Tip #5: Focus feedback on behaviour that the person can change

Focus your feedback on actual behaviour (for example, writing style, appearance, work output, mannerisms) that can be changed over a reasonable period of time.

Tip #6: Own your feedback

The Practical Guide to Human Resources Management recommends you use 'I' statements instead of 'you' statements.

Avoid statements that give accountability to anonymous people. Don't make statements like: 'the organisation thinks' or 'we believe'.

It's your feedback and you must make it sound that way.

Tip #7: Don't over-generalise

Don't say 'you always' or 'you never'. Be as specific as you can and have real, detailed examples.

Don't use emotional terms but rather mirror your employee's behaviours by describing them using recognisable details.

Tip #8: Turn negative feedback into an opportunity to learn

Always give specific suggestions of how your employee can improve when you give negative feedback. Use an interactive session with your employee to develop the suggestions for improvement.

Make sure your negative feedback is always constructive so it's used as a valuable tool to improve performance.

Remember, negative feedback doesn't mean terrible performance, but rather a guide of how outcomes delivered should be better. So negative is not a negative word in this case.

Well there you have it. With these tips you'll ensure you and your employees get the most out of performance review feedback.

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