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From using digital transformation tools to ensuring you are well-prepared, here are seven answers to the question, “Can you give some of your best tips for managers and/or employees on how to have a productive end-of-year performance review?”

  • Use Digital Transformation Tools Whenever Possible
  • Keep an Open Mind
  • Take the Opportunity to Learn and Grow
  • Focus on Collaboration for 2023
  • Conduct Constructive Feedback Using a Two-Way Dialogue
  • Be Clear With Company Objectives
  • Ensure You Are Adequately Prepared

Use Digital Transformation Tools Whenever Possible

Use the new digital transformation tools you have at your disposal whenever possible.  

Technology can help streamline the performance review process and give everyone involved a better understanding of what happened throughout the year. It’s important to remember that an end-of-year performance review isn’t just about identifying areas for improvement; it’s also about recognizing employees’ strengths, accomplishments, and areas of growth. 

Encourage open communication between managers and employees by asking questions, listening actively, and providing constructive feedback.

Michael Fischer, Founder, Elite HRT

Keep an Open Mind

Keep an open mind during the performance review. Both managers and employees can have very fixed ideas about what they should discuss and how the discussion should go. 

Of course, there are some best practices to follow, but those can change from year to year or in different scenarios. Be ready to adapt your performance review and make it productive, especially in the last quarter.

Be specific about what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it. It is also important to be clearer about the goals and expectations. Managers must also be ready to give more responsibilities to employees and offer more encouragement.

Matthew Ramirez, CEO, Rephrasely

Take the Opportunity to Learn and Grow

The end-of-year performance review is an important opportunity for managers and employees to reflect on the past year and set goals for the future. 

It can be a helpful tool for both parties to identify areas of improvement and develop a plan to address them. However, the review can also be a source of stress and anxiety for managers and employees. 

One of the best tips for having a productive end-of-year performance review is to use the opportunity to learn and grow. For managers, this means being open to employee feedback and using it to improve their management style. For employees, this means being honest about their performance and reflecting on what they could have done better.

It is also important to be proactive in setting goals for the future. By taking the time to learn from the past and setting goals for the future, you can make the end-of-year performance review a productive and positive experience for both managers and employees.

Hilary Kozak, VP of Marketing, LivSmooth

Focus on Collaboration for 2023

With an end-of-year performance review, it’s imperative that you focus on collaboration opportunities for Q1 of the following year.

For managers, this means outlining collaboration opportunities and having them ready for your employee’s feedback within the review, with a core focus on upskilling as an outcome of the collaboration.

For employees, think about what your collaboration opportunities look like between your department peers, and potential opportunities across departments, too. 

This way, both parties leave the review with focused, actionable goals, which are rooted in upskilling and development across teams.

Wendy Makinson, HR Manager, Joloda Hydraroll

Conduct Constructive Feedback Using a Two-Way Dialogue

Performance reviews are an important way for HR to help their team reach success, but prepping can be challenging. When employees are not meeting their goals and targets, these meetings help determine why and how HR can help employees improve.

My HR team goes the extra mile by extensively researching each employee’s performance to determine what permits or prevents them from reaching goals, and here the vital tip is not to miss your employee’s feedback.

To have their voices heard and expectations aligned, why not make it a two-way dialogue? Ask your team about how they felt last year—what went well, what didn’t go as planned, were their expectations justified or not—plus get them excited by hearing out any ideas they might have.

This way, you create space for collective growth within your management circle and have a smooth-sailing performance review!

Maria Harutyunyan, Co-Founder, Loopex Digital

Be Clear With Company Objectives

With year-end performance reviews, it’s important to leave with everyone on the same page. 

Throughout the year, company objectives and team goals should be very transparent. All team members must be tracking their progress so that by the time the performance review comes around, there are no surprises. 

As an employee, be sure you can show the results and output of the last year in a clear and concise way. Managers can help employees do this throughout the year, making the performance review the final stamp of approval.

Kelli Anderson, Career Coach, Resume Seed

Ensure You Are Adequately Prepared

Productive performance reviews help both managers and employees to have meaningful conversations. Preparation is essential to having a productive end-of-year performance review, and there are five critical components for managers:

  1. Reduce bias by gathering qualitative and quantitative feedback regarding the employee for the full year of review. The information will decrease bias, such as recency, confirmation, or halo/horn.
  2.  Allow time for the employee to digest information ahead of time if needed. Send pertinent items in need of review before the meeting. The feedback shared should not be a surprise.
  3. Prepare clear and succinct talking points. 
  4. Communicate what’s working and what’s not working. Include specific examples and any needed action items. If corrective action is needed, including timelines and expected outcomes. 
  5. Gain agreement before ending the meeting. Allow the employee to ask questions and clarify the next steps in order to gain agreement.

Darby Starnes, Co-Founder & Chief Diversity Officer, Change Rhythm

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