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One of the most contentious areas of management in all different areas of business is the performance evaluation or review. The performance evaluation has the potential to cause anger, resentment, and frustration – on both sides of the professional relationship. But the review is an essential part of organisational life and when handled correctly can be a positive force for change and also for professional development. Find out how not to give a performance review by looking at the biggest mistakes managers make when it’s time for an appraisal.
1. Give Highly Vague Feedback
It is often the case that, when faced with a mountain of things to do and HR on your back for the results of the evaluation, you make the mistake of conducting a brief and almost pointless appraisal. Telling someone they are doing good work and to “keep it up” is not helpful and it leads to everyone thinking the procedure is a huge waste of time. Be specific in what you appreciate in someone’s performance, and what could be done better.

2. Avoid Discussing Anything Negative

Often managers think that the performance review will go better if you only focus on what the employee is doing right. Everyone loves praise, don’t they? But for an evaluation to be effective it must focus on what should be improved as well as what is going right. An employee doesn’t want to be faced with the sack for doing things wrong which were never discussed or focused on. An employee needs to know where to improve so they can focus on developing their role and also in progressing further in the organisation. Find out how to give constructive feedback with ideas from The Corporate Toolbox.

3. Focus Only on the Recent Past

One of the biggest reasons for resentment is when an employee does one thing wrong in the past few weeks and this is the only thing that is discussed in the review. Ignoring all the things the employee has done right over the past year builds resentment and leads to the employee considering whether anyone actually notices when they do a good job. You can’t ignore the negative, but you must also be fair and take into account the full year.

4. Don’t Prepare

An employee will recognise when their manager hasn’t looked at their file or made any effort to think about their performance. No one wants to sit in a meeting with someone who clearly doesn’t care – if you don’t want to be there, try not to let it show. And do your homework.

5. Fail to Find the Time

Of course, the biggest problem comes when the manager simply doesn’t find the time to complete the appraisal. Do this one year, and you will find it hard to get anyone to take the process seriously. Performance evaluations can be useful, but they require effort.

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