Employee Reviews-What is Important to Communicate

October 1, 2021
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Employee reviews are a necessary part of keeping a business running successfully. Your employees appreciate receiving feedback, both positive and negative. According to MIT Human Resources, “The performance review is a crucial part of the ongoing dialogue between managers and employees.” If employees expect regular and thorough reviews, there is less room for guesswork on their part as to what they could be doing differently. During a performance review, it is important to communicate celebrations and productivity as well as soft-skills like communication, flexibility, and problem solving. 


Celebrate the Wins

According to Mind Tools, celebrating employee successes leaves employees feeling confident and motivated, but most employers are not celebrating achievements in the right way. To ensure you get the results you want from celebrating, you need to acknowledge both big and small wins for everyone on your team. At each employee review, consider starting off with a celebration of a win you noticed. This could be a measurable goal the employee met, or a positive interaction with a customer. Either way, beginning on a positive note will set the tone for the entire review, but this is not to say you are going to sugarcoat everything from here on out. The celebration will offer a bridge to the employee, and from there you can guide them through your specific constructive feedback. 

Examples of Celebrations 

[Name] achieved X goal in X amount of time. 

A customer left X positive review for [Name].

Address Productivity

When the time comes to address productivity, you should have evidence to support your statements. For example, if an employee is falling below your expectations for productivity, you should provide the time expectations for their responsibilities. Consider asking the employee to reflect on the amount of time they spend on the responsibilities ahead of time so you can discuss it together at the review. On the other hand, if an employee is exceeding your expectations with productivity, you could ask how he/she is managing this so others can use their system. 

Examples of Addressing Productivity

Positive: [Name] significantly improved on X since the last review. 

Improvement: [Name] is using X amount of time to perform X task. The expected amount is X. 

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Communication, flexibility, and problem-solving are difficult skills to teach once a person has entered the workforce, and naturally this is where you will need to address the most issues during the reviews. Oftentimes this is difficult because it is a pattern of behavior, and some might even deem it part of their personality. Before the review, you can ask the employee to reflect on these skills in a shared document. When you are having the conversation, ask the employee to share their reflection and then address your concerns. Your concerns should include specific examples as well as solutions. The employee will walk away with the knowledge they need to be successful in their position. 

Examples of Addressing Soft-Skills 

Positive: [Name] consistently replies to emails. 

Improvement: [Name] resisted X change implemented to improve the company. 

Before you give your employee reviews, make sure employees know the process for the review. Offer them time to reflect on the agenda prior to the meeting. This will both prepare them for the conversation and allow them to have any negative or emotional reactions in private. Create a system and routine for your reviews and stick to it; your employees will thank you.