Elle Smith reports:
"Periodic reviews provide constructive feedback to employees, which help improve the overall performance of an organization. When an employee has performed well through the year, performance reviews can be a pleasure for both manager and employee. If the employee isn't performing up to your expectations, however, the review may be weighted toward negative behaviors. While it's important to acknowledge undesirable work performance, there are ways to approach the review to help create a positive and productive experience for both manager and direct report...Constructive criticism is one thing, but if you start out by highlighting the negatives, it may appear to be an attack from the employee's perspective, and he may become defensive. Always begin the performance review with positive notes about the employee's work throughout the review period. Use clear, nonjudgmental language that can help the employee get back on track without feeling attacked. Praising him for desired behavior can bolster him against the negatives that follow...Employees appreciate positive feedback about their performance. It makes them feel appreciated and motivates them to do a better job. If the employee is [underperforming], feedback is likely to narrow in on undesired behaviors, which can undermine employee confidence and highlight supervisor bias...This type of approach may feel like punishment and may be useless in helping the employee to grow...Instead, alternate negative and positive comments in the written review. Don't gloss over negative performance, however; it isn't fair to the organization or to the employee...Don't rely solely on your memory of the employee's performance throughout the review period; instead, document work performance as it happens, then refresh your memory before you write the review. By using notes, you are more likely to give a more objective view, especially if particularly poor performance is the most recent memory...An objective employee review avoids generalizations of character or competency, and focuses instead on the employee's performance, not his personality. Cite examples of specific issues, such as missed deadlines or customer service-related behaviors, not attitude...Write a targeted plan to help the employee improve his job development and career development goals. It will show that you care about him and that you are confident in his abilities to make positive changes. Clearly articulate your expectations for him, and ask him to comply with improved performance. People feel more motivated to perform well when they see their efforts make a difference...Ensure that you recognize the employee when he meets your expectations."
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