Unpacking Performance Reviews: What They Really Mean

Unpacking Performance Reviews: What They Really Mean

Performance reviews are a must-have in every organization. They serve as a yardstick for measuring and managing employee performance and could lead to a pay rise or promotion. If you have a performance review coming up very soon and need clarification on what it entails and how to ace it, this article is for you. 

We’d be unpacking a lot of information about all you need to know about performance reviews to help you make the necessary preparations and ace it like the superstar that you are. Let’s begin

What is a performance review and why is it important?

A performance review is a process where a manager evaluates employees’ performance in an organization over time and gives feedback on how employees can improve their performance. Also referred to as a performance appraisal, this exercise typically involves pointing out strengths and weaknesses, identifying areas of improvement, as well as communicating the company’s expectations in the future. 

Most organizations carry out performance reviews within a specific timeframe, which varies from organization to organization. However, in recent times, most companies have adopted a more frequent performance management system, such that they conduct quarterly, monthly, and even weekly performance reviews.

When conducted properly, performance reviews offer many benefits to promote a healthy working relationship between employees and their managers. Some of these benefits include the following;

  • Help employees understand how their performance aligns with the company’s goals
  • Measuring employees’ performance over some time
  • It could potentially lead to a pay raise or promotion
  • Serves as a way to encourage and counsel employees that are not performing optimally 
  • Communicate the company’s expectations as it relates to employee performance. 
  • Helps managers identify and reward top-performing employees 

An effective performance review helps create a healthy setting where managers can communicate constructive feedback to employees. 

How are Performance Reviews carried out?

There are various means of carrying out performance reviews; typically, companies adopt the ones best suited to their needs. You’d also find that most organizations use a combination of these methods to analyze their employees’ performance effectively. Some common methods include; 

1. Self Evaluation

The self-evaluation is one of the most common methods used during a performance review. The human resources manager asks each employee to complete a self-evaluation form. This way, employees can evaluate their performance, give managers an insight into how employees view their performances and set the tone for providing feedback. 

Companies often pair the self-evaluation method with other methods since employees are more likely to emphasize their strengths and downplay their shortcomings. That way, managers would have a well-rounded view of each employee’s performance. 

2. 360-degree review 

As suggested by the name, this review technique entails gathering opinions about an employee from a variety of people, including managers and coworkers, usually in an anonymous manner. As a result, managers can obtain a comprehensive picture of an employee’s performance, as seen from many angles.

Even though there is a chance that coworkers will base their responses on personal bias, most businesses concentrate on making the questions more job oriented.

3. Critical Incident

Using this technique, the employer keeps a logbook that records occurrences of employees’ accomplishments and shortcomings as they occur. However, this method is usually time-consuming since it requires events to be documented as soon as they appear to be accurate and helpful.

4. Checklist

The checklist method is one of the most accessible means of performance review. It typically involves administering a set of criteria to different employees. For example, it could come as a questionnaire requiring a yes or no answer or inform of a five-point scale requiring employees to rate their performance on various tasks. 

Bear in mind that this list is not exhaustive, as there are other methods your company might choose to adopt. 

How to prepare for a performance review?

Whether you’re having a formal or a casual performance review, you must prepare adequately. This would ensure that you’d perform well and help manage your anxiety. Here are some suggestions to help you prepare;

1. Understand the process

We noted earlier that the method through which performance reviews are conducted depends on the organization. This is why it is essential to start by understanding whether there is a structure that your company adopts. While some managers can be very structural in terms of having an agenda, others might have forms you would fill out, and some might want to hear about your achievement so far. Understanding how the process works to let you know what to expect and how to prepare for the appraisal. If you’re just new, you could speak to some of your colleagues for insight into how to process works.

2. Gather your data

If you intend to show your manager how much of a top performer you are during your performance review, you must show clear, quantifiable achievements. What this means is that aside from your job description, what other notable contributions have you made to the company? This step is crucial if you’re looking to get a pay raise or a promotion. 

3. Prepare your questions

Aside from assessing your performance over time, performance reviews foster effective communication and feedback between employees and managers. It’s also a safe place to ask any questions about your role. So if you’d like to ask questions regarding your performance, or a salary increment, it would help if you prepared them beforehand.

Bottom Line 

Performance reviews are easier than you think. While you would be having meaningful conversations with individuals that directly impact your career trajectory, it provides an opportunity to receive helpful feedback that could help improve your performance. So, take out time to prepare and let us know how it goes. For more insightful contents like this, feel free to check our blog.

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