Forget the dread that comes with year-end performance reviews. Wrap up 2011 on a positive note and start 2012 the right way by incorporating some fresh ideas into your annual review process.

No one likes annual reviews. That’s right – no one (okay, maybe one or two people). So, rather than looking at performance reviews as something to get through, here are five ways you can actually find value in this dreaded year-end task:

  1. Approach reviews as an ongoing process. Forget annual reviews. Instead, approach this as the first step in the performance management of your team. Start the process with the “annual review” and follow up on comments and feedback regularly throughout the year, both casually, and in formal meetings. When your employees understand that you are committed to their long-term improvement and success, and not just checking off a list once a year, they’ll be more apt to get involved in the process too.
  2. Be positive. This is probably a no-brainer, but it can be easy to fall into a pattern of simply delivering faults, or areas for improvement, in a review. Before your meeting, prepare a list of positive and constructive feedback you’d like to deliver. Then, try to soften any harsh blows by starting off and ending on a positive note. It can have a dramatic impact on the success of your meeting!
  3. Set an agenda. Rather than let important meeting time turn into an hour-long, open-ended conversation, set a clear agenda for areas to be covered during annual reviews. But, be sure to leave time at the end for the employee to ask any questions or deliver any personal feedback.
  4. Take it seriously. Yes, most companies require them, and no, most people do not like doing (or receiving) them. But, performance reviews are an important way to help gauge advancement and determine performance and career goals for both employee and employer. Be sure you’re approaching the review as an important part of your day. If you don’t take it seriously, how can you expect your employees to take it seriously?
  5. Follow through. If you offer suggestions for new responsibilities or training, or if employee and employer agree upon a set of steps, make sure you follow through. It demonstrates commitment to your employees’ long-term success.

See, that seems easier already, doesn’t it? Keep your performance reviews from going wrong, and help them go right, by following these tips. And if you need help with your reviews, or with finding the right employees to add to your team, contact Masiello Employment Services. We’ll search our extensive network of professionals across New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont to find the most-qualified professionals to meet your needs.