I can’t think of a two-week period that I dread more going into it, but feel more satisfied coming out of it than performance review time. When done right, and I don’t always, the candid conversations can lead to one of the most fulfilling times of the year.
Some random observations …
• People are far more willing to hear the truth (or my perception of the truth anyway) than we give them credit.
• It’s not the time for surprises. If I bring up something they haven’t heard earlier in the year, then I haven’t done my job.
• We are our own harshest critics.
• People genuinely want to get better.
• No one really likes the performance evaluation form they get from HR, but I have realized the form itself is less important. It’s merely a tool to start the right conversations.
• It’s important to be friendly with co-workers, but it’s a business so you can’t be afraid to outwork them.
• We are all vulnerable in a performance review.
• The old saying of “Sandwich every bit of criticism between two layers of praise” wasn’t invented during the performance review process. Consider quadrupling it. We tend to only truly hear the negative.
• It’s harder to accept a compliment than one might think.
• Collaborate on the goal setting process. Then stick with it, but don’t be too stubborn to adjust if needed.
• You have to communicate and motivate like a coach, minus the yelling.
Here we go.