How to Connect with Your Team Using Performance Reviews

Performance reviews can create stronger working relationships, more trust, and deeper engagement amongst your team members when done thoughtfully, effectively, and with preparation. 

It’s a tough time of year for employees, managers, and HR. We are about to get into performance review season and you can hear a collective groan echoing down the halls. However, this is the perfect time to start thinking about relationship building within your organization rather than seeing performance reviews as clunky, dreaded systems and more work. 

As a manager, you have a lot on your plate running your day to day job, managing up and being responsible for the output of your team in addition to their career development. 

Here are 4 tips to help you get through the annual performance review process with ease. By leveraging these tools, you will enable your team, drive more engagement, and build stronger relationships with your direct reports. 

1. Be Kind

Acknowledge them as a team member and a human being. Start the conversation by letting your employee know how much you value their impact, input and contribution on the team. Let them know how they make your job easier throughout the year. 

2. Be Future Focused.

Focus your performance conversation on the future - not the past. Share inspiration, tips, and suggestions on how they can continue to grow, make bigger impact on the team and reach their next level. Be specific about ways they have achieved their objectives and what they do well to ensure they are motivated to continuing performing in those ways.  

3. Be Clear.

Create an agreement about behaviors and outcomes expected moving forward. In order to deliver on the results expected of you as the team leader, what do you need from each team member? How would you like to rely on them? For an example, create an agreement that your team member will show up to meetings on time moving forward. Ask your employee if it’s something they’re able to commit to and if not - why not? 

Another example: Let your employee know they manage client relationships really well, but moving forward you’d like to agree that they will commit to showing the same respect to their internal teams as they do their customers. In order to create mutual agreement with an employee, be clear about what you expect and require moving forward and brainstorm solutions together. What are they will to do to solve the issue, with your support? 

4. Be Curious.

Ask your employee to share what is most important to them moving forward in the organization - what is their one goal that you can support them to achieve in the upcoming year? What do they need from you? Be open, receptive, and clear in terms of how you can put a plan in place - together- to help your employee achieve their goal. 

The biggest opportunity you have as a manager to retain and motivate your talent is to have thoughtful performance review conversations - regularly. How will you leverage this opportunity to develop trust in your team and set yourself up for success? 

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