#Nextchat: A Positive Process for Performance Reviews


Do you dread your annual performance review? 

You’re not alone. 

While many companies are ditching performance ratings and experimenting with new models for continuous coaching and peer feedback, the majority of organizations are still using the traditional annual performance review to rate their employees. It’s a number. It determines future compensation and chances for career advancement. And it has a major impact on employee happiness.

And despite all the pros and cons, there are right ways and wrong ways for managers to conduct this yearly process. If your workers are crying during their annual review, you may have missed the memo on how to do it the right way. The SHRM Online article Conducting Performance Reviews? Get Out the Tissues by SHRM editor Kathy Gurchiek reports that according to the results of a new Adobe survey, “34 percent of Millennials say they have been driven to tears during a performance review. And 25 percent of men of all ages—and 18 percent of women—have cried because of a review.”       

Why all the tears? Many times, it’s a training issue.

Manager training is the key to a successful performance review program in an organization. Supervisors must learn how to objectively evaluate performance so that the appraisal system data is correct, resulting in better talent management and succession planning and reducing the likelihood of litigation.

Whether through frequent feedback or better expectation-setting, HR can assist managers by offering training that will turn the annual performance review process into a more positive experience for employees. 

When managers address problem areas throughout the year—instead of only at the end—this will encourage ongoing improvement and give employees the opportunity to overcome challenges. They will look forward to a review that will focus on the future, and not the past. In her blog post The Importance of Performance Documentation, HR professional, blogger and influencer Sarah Morgan wrote that “By adding in documentation on positive performance trends alongside whatever corrective documentation is needed, you’ll create trust with your employees, set the atmosphere for truly productive feedback and assemble a historical record that illustrates the totality of performance.”

Additionally, if the manager views himself or herself as a coach or mentor—and not as a judge—the relationship will become more collaborative and the review will produce better results.  

In an interview for this chat, Morgan said that “Providing performance feedback is a necessary part of being a manager. The performance review is just a formal version of this. The need for it will not go away any time soon. So let's focus efforts on preparing managers for how to give productive and practical feedback that will be well-received and yield the results desired.” 

Please join @shrmnextchat at 3 p.m. ET on March 15 for #Nextchat with special guest Kathy Gurchiek @shrmwriter and Sarah Morgan @thebuzzonHR. We’ll chat about how HR can help make the annual performance review a positive experience for both the employer and its employees.  


Q1. Does your organization conduct annual performance reviews, or have you moved to real-time feedback/continuous coaching? Or both?

Q2. What, if any, conversation is your organization having around changing your performance review model? What are your concerns?

Q3. Are you incorporating peer assessment or social feedback into your annual review process? How? What technology/apps are you using?   

Q4. How can managers transition from the role of judge/rater to that of coach/mentor during the performance review process?

Q5. How should managers handle cases of extreme emotions (crying, anger) during a performance review?

Q6. How or what kind of training are you currently giving to managers who conduct performance reviews?

Q7. What should managers NEVER do during an annual review?

Q8. What should managers do to prepare for the performance review conversation?

Q9. What can HR do to make the annual review process a positive experience for the organization? (communication, games, events?)

If you missed this #Nextchat on March 15, click here for the RECAP post with all the tweets. 



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