Are You Making These Mistakes When Conducting Performance Reviews?

By Jezabel Southard

Posted on January 22, 2016

PerformanceReviewThe beginning of the year is the season for annual performance reviews – but if you’re not conducting reviews carefully, you and your employees may not be benefiting fully from the process.

Avoid these common mistakes in order to conduct better performance reviews and produce a more focused, motivated and productive team in 2016.


  1. Giving only one point of view. Your view of your employee’s work throughout the previous year might be thorough, detailed, and backed up with evidence; however, if you’re only presenting your viewpoint, it’s easy for the employee to dismiss it as “just one opinion.” Instead, round out the performance review process by asking the employee to evaluate his or her own work, or by asking peers to evaluate one another. Use common points in each review as the basis for your feedback and recommendations.
  2. Starting with the negative. No employee is perfect. And when you start by pointing out the employee’s weaknesses, you increase the chance of putting the employee on the defensive, making it more difficult for him or her to hear your advice or feedback. Instead, start with a positive comment. Mention one thing the employee is doing very well. Then, frame feedback on weaker points as an attempt to help the employee make those skills as strong as their best work.
  3. Evaluating the employee, not their work. Few things will turn off an employee from absorbing feedback faster than the feeling that they are under personal attack. While it is important to address bad behavior if necessary, it is equally important to focus on the behavior and on concrete, specific changes the employee can make, rather than condemning the behavior categorically. For instance, instead of saying an employee “has an attitude,” point out that they are rude to customers on the phone and give specific tips for handling phone calls more politely.
  4. Missing the bigger picture. Has the employee been doing very well in the past year, but messed up a major project in the week before the review? Are their scores dropping in some area because they’re covering two jobs while managers scramble to hire a new worker? When you focus on details without considering the context in which they occur, you miss the chance to give valuable feedback – and may instead waste time telling the employee something he or she already knows.

By following these tips, you will help to avoid making mistakes when conducting annual performance reviews, as well as position your team (and company!) for the best success in the coming year.

Performance reviews are also an excellent time to gauge if you have staffing gaps in your internal team, and decide if you need to supplement or add new talent to your staff. At TERRA Staffing Group, our recruiters specialize in evaluating and meeting our clients’ staffing needs. Contact us today to learn more about our specialized recruiting services in Phoenix Portland, and Seattle.

Categories: Employee Development

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