Performance Review Planning

Start the new financial year with an aligned and focused team!

As we approach end of Financial Year, now is a great time to start planning for annual performance reviews to be had at the start of the new financial year.

What are Performance Reviews?

Performance Reviews are a process where an employee’s work performance is evaluated by their manager. Typically, it includes a meeting between the employee, manager and sometimes a human resources representative, to discuss the employee’s accomplishments, areas for improvement, goals for the future, and personal development and training opportunities moving forward.

The process will usually involve the manager gathering data about the employee’s performance, through feedback, productivity metrics, sales metrics and other relevant information, and then using the data to support the conversation and evaluate the performance of the individual.

Performance reviews are typically conducted on an annual basis, but can be done more frequently such as bi-annually or quarterly.

Why are they beneficial?

Performance reviews are beneficial and necessary as they help to improve individual’s performance and achieve career goals, as well as provide insight into their strengths and areas for improvement. The process can assist individuals to upskill, improve their performance, and also be provided with positive feedback which can then boost their overall job satisfaction.

From a management perspective, it is a great tool for managers to be able to identify their high performers, core contributors, and employees who may need additional support or training, which ultimately can improve the team and organisation performance. It’s also a great opportunity to recognise and reward the high performers.

Another great reason for conducting performance reviews is to foster communication between an individual and manager, and therefore build strong relationships. Employees have clarity around their own performance and what the expectations of the role are as well as having insight into individual and team goals for the future.

Planning for Performance Reviews

Depending on the size of your business, it may be a requirement for the managers to undergo training prior to performance reviews taking place – the training should primarily focus on the following areas:

  • Providing Constructive Feedback
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Goal Setting

As well as training, having the data to support the conversation is critical – ensuring you’re setting SMART goals for this performance review means that in 12 months’ time you will have the data easily available to support the next performance review conversation.

Employees need to be provided advance notice of their performance review to ensure time for them to prepare, understand what the process entails, and to fill out any forms required for them to bring along. This will help the employee feel prepared and comfortable with the process and the expectations of management.

What is a SMART Goal?

It is recommended that all goals set in the workplace are aligned to the SMART acronym to ensure clarity and achievability. Each goal should be:

Specific – provide clarity on what the goal is. What is trying to be accomplished? Why is it important?

Measurable – being able to quantify the goal. E.g. a number, a percentage. This will enable you to have clarity on when the goal is met.

Achievable – the goal needs to be attainable and realistic. It should be a stretch goal but still remain possible to achieve.

Relevant – does this goal match the goals and targets of the team / company? Is the individual the right person to be completing this goal? Is this the right time?

Time bound – setting specific timeframes. When does this goal need to be achieved by? Can it be broken down into smaller tasks with shorter timeframes?

How to Conduct a Performance Review

It is recommended to have a clear structure to the conversation. This will assist to avoid getting off-topic or going around in circles. Using Performance Assessment forms and templates linked to KPIs and previous goals can assist in providing that structure. It is important to be factual, objective, evidence based, and allow time for the individual to provide their own feedback.

In terms of goal setting for the next performance review period, it is important to come to a shared agreement on the goals moving forward, as well as any personal development or training goals to be completed. Employees are less likely to meet future goals and objectives if they don’t agree with or understand the goal in the first place.

Continuous Feedback Cycle

As mentioned above, it is important to have a formal performance review on an annual basis. However, if the only conversation that is had is every 12 months, managers might find that by then it is too late to steer the employee back in the right direction, provide training or support if needed.

It is vital that annual performance reviews are followed up with regular check-ins and feedback. We recommend completing performance review check-ins on a quarterly basis with the individual. This allows individuals to stay focussed, motivated and on-task, as well as providing them with feedback on improvements, and positive reinforcement. The outcome is likely to be a lot more successful for the individual and the team, leading to a higher team performance, and higher job satisfaction.

Tools / Support

It is recommended that with any performance review process, feedback forms and assessment templates are provided to both the individual and the manager to support the structure of the conversation. It also allows individuals and managers the opportunity to think about and pre-plan for the meeting, with clarity on what the meeting will entail.

Get in touch today for professional HR assistance on facilitation, training, templates, goal setting and the conducting of performance reviews.