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3 Tips for Successful Performance Review Meetings

Are you getting ready to give or receive a performance review?

This week, I was in a Zoom meeting with my coaching client, Casey.

She was very upset.

Casey said she scored 2 out of 3 on her performance review this year. 

This rating is considered “good” or “acceptable” within her organization.

While receiving a 2 out of 3 on the average year might be acceptable to many of us, this was not the case for Casey.

In 2023, she had her best year ever! Her team far exceeded all of their goals. 

If her rating were purely based on quantifiable sales numbers, she would have achieved that 3 out of 3 rating for sure.

She was mad.

All year, her boss told her that she was on track. In fact, her boss constantly praised her for doing an excellent job.

Her boss never once indicated that there were any gaps in her performance or that she needed to work on any developmental areas.

formal performance review meeting tip

So, in this meeting, she asked her boss, “What was missing? Why did I not get a 3 out of 3 after having such a stellar year”?

Her boss told her that she didn’t “initiate any strategic projects.”

Now, Casey is in the sales department.

She has never been asked to “initiate strategic projects.” This concept was not in her job description. It was never mentioned by her boss in the past.

Now she was even more angry…not to mention extremely demotivated!

So, what happened here? What can you learn from this performance review situation?

  1. Your expectations of your team MUST be clear. They must be written down and reviewed quarterly.

  2. There should be NO surprises when providing a formal performance review. These year-end reviews should be a summary of every check-in meeting that you have had all year.

  3. You should be giving ongoing feedback all year. This means that if someone has a gap in their performance, they are aware of these gaps and can work towards developing them. Plus, you can provide some coaching along the way.

Remember, managing the performance of your team is not an annual event.

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

Please learn from Casey’s situation and do a better job than her boss!

I don’t want your people to feel shocked or demotivated during your review process!

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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