Many energy sector companies and departments schedule annual performance reviews for the beginning of the calendar year. If performance reviews are on the schedule for your team, keep these five tips in mind for conducting more constructive and productive reviews:
- Before you sit down with each employee, take the time to look at the employee’s previous reviews and their track record: Their accomplishments, successes, and failures in the previous year. When you do this “homework,” you are more prepared to give focused specific feedback both on items the employee handles well and places they can improve.
- Lead with the positive. Begin by discussing the employee’s positive accomplishments and strengths over the past year. Most employees experience some degree of anxiety when facing a performance review. You can allay this anxiety and help the employee listen more readily when you lead with their strengths.
- Focus on the important things. A performance review that attempts to address every item on the list in a mechanistic fashion can cause both the supervisor and the employee to forget the most important items on the list. Instead of covering every detail, focus on two or three strengths for which you want to praise the employee and two or three major weaknesses on which you want the employee to focus in the coming year.
- Stick to the issues. Every time you give praise or correction, make sure you are discussing how the employee handled a particular task or issue – not the employee as a person. Particularly when you are giving feedback on improving a weakness, focusing on specific ways the employee can change his or her behavior will help reduce the employee’s potential defensiveness and make it easier for him or her to accept the steps that should be taken. A written list of these steps can help the employee implement them as well.
- Give specific feedback. Whether giving praise or correction be specific. “We were all impressed by your ability to finish the project on time, despite the failures from our suppliers” is preferable to “You’re doing a great job.” Likewise, “We need to ensure your reports are filed by 5 p.m. every Friday” is preferable to “You could do better with deadlines.” Specific feedback is more likely to be remembered and is easier to implement.