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How to run an effective performance review meeting

It is performance appraisal season!

I have lots of clients busy at work to complete their annual performance reviews.

If you are in this process right now, do you know how to make these meetings useful?

Firstly, you need to understand the performance management cycle indicated by the chart below:

Business Performance Management Cycle

Managing the performance of your team is not an annual event.

It’s a multi-faceted process that you need to be conscious of all year round.

During your formal performance review meeting, you are focusing only on steps 5, 1, and 2 of this cycle.

Secondly, to make these meetings useful, you need to have a clear purpose and agenda.

Here is a sample agenda that I’ve used for years and you are welcome to borrow it:

Performance Review Meeting Agenda

  1. Review Performance Appraisal Assessment Form: Review employee’s self-assessment first. Then you, as the manager, can review your assessment of this person. You can then discuss similarities and differences.
  2. Discuss Strengths and Accomplishments: Ask your team member to bring a list of all their accomplishments to the meeting. This is a great way for them to celebrate their successes and share what they are most proud of accomplishing. You might even learn about some things they did that you were not aware of before.
  3. Discuss their Weaknesses and Areas for Development: Ask your employee to be prepared in advance to discuss this question: What one area do you need to develop that will have the biggest impact on your performance next year? Both of you will share your answer to this question. Be prepared to provide specific examples.
  4. Plan and Set Goals for the New Year. During this part of the meeting, together you will set their key goals for the new year and also identify their development plan. Their development plan should leverage their strengths and also focus on developing their weaknesses

This agenda will keep your meeting focused and positive. Instead of dwelling on the past, it allows you to look forward to a positive future.

Plus, there should be no surprises!!!

Since you should be following the performance management cycle listed above, you have been monitoring their performance (step 3) which includes feedback and coaching and developing (step 4) them all year long.

Finally, these review meetings don’t need to be so serious.

Set a tone that is informal and light. Create a space for an open, collaborative discussion.

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World. Order your copy here.

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