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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

The Dreaded End of Year Performance Review

Guest Contributor: Whitney Coker

At the end of the year, many leaders and their employees are preparing for the dreaded end of year performance review. Timely and effective feedback is the cornerstone to good leadership coaching. Except the annual performance review is not timely and has become less effective.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 95% of employees are dissatisfied with their company’s appraisal process and believe the evaluation does not truly represent their performance.

So how can you make this dreaded process a more effective leadership coaching tool?

Don’t wait till the end of the year. Start now! Providing feedback or course correction once a year would be the equivalent to checking your GPS two hours into a road trip just to find out that you’ve been going in the wrong direction the entire time. No wonder employees dread the experience if they only learn of their mistakes at the end of the year. Provide them with in the moment feedback and schedule time with them on a quarterly basis where you can review their current projects and set goals for the next quarter.

Record throughout the year. Some end of year reviews only reflects the last six weeks because managers may not have kept records of accomplishments or performance throughout the year and instead have to rely on their memory. Keeping records throughout the year will become a lifesaver when you have to turn in 12 performance reviews before Thanksgiving. Try to keep track of their quarterly performance and list accomplishments or comments from each quarter in their annual review.

Schedule Reviews Effectively. If you have control over when you give your performance review, choose a month that works best for employee development and staff availability. January is a perfect time to have an end of year performance review because employees return from the holidays refreshed and ready to make their own personal goals for the year. Leverage this motivation by scheduling reviews after the second week in January.

Compare them to themselves. Your employees don’t want to be compared to others, they want to be compared to themselves. Reviewing the performance of a junior salesperson to that of a seasoned veteran is poor leadership coaching. While they should look to the senior as a goal, their performance at this stage should be compared to themselves and not to others. Keeping records of their quarterly goals and comparing them from quarter to quarter will give you better insight into how much that employee has grown.

Work to remove bias. Psychology Today reports that the traditional performance review is inherently flawed. Using one managers observation of an employee’s performance is problematic because of experience bias, “the all-too-human tendency to believe our own interpretations of the world constitute the whole, objective truth.” Where in reality, everyone perceives the world differently and no one individuals observation is correct. Smarter reviews work to remove bias by soliciting perspectives from other people.

Instead of doing the end of year review, don’t! Do a 360 instead. As the name implies, the 360 survey provides leaders and employees with feedback about their performance from an employee’s subordinates, colleagues, and supervisors, as well as a self-evaluation. The survey also focuses on strengths and weaknesses not always assessed by the traditional HR form. Using a facilitator can help you to analyze and deliver the survey’s feedback for optimal results.

With proper leadership coaching, the dreaded end of year review can become a satisfactory experience where employees feel heard and fully understand their future direction.

If you are interested in learning more about our employee development services, please contact us. Our CEO Coach, Tony Richards, has helped many organizations conduct 360 performance evaluation and provide assessments for talent acquisition.

For more leadership coaching, sign up for the Monday Morning Coaching Memo.

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