An annual review can help managers keep their employees happy, engaged, and focused. 

It is human nature to look for success, and giving employees feedback on their positive and negative attributes is part of the pathway to success, but a poorly designed annual review can have the reverse effect.

A well-developed annual review process can help strengthen not only the employees, but the company as well.

Reviews help employees see their strengths and weaknesses – they are a tool to recognise staff for their great work and to let them know what needs to be improved. If you are a manager and looking forward to enhancing your employees’ annual review, here are some ways to do so:

Put thought into your evaluation

You should decide what you want to convey to your employee, and what message you want them to leave with. 

Many times these evaluations are rushed, but your employees need to know and feel that the evaluation is important, because they are important. 

Set categories

Decide what categories of the job are going to be included in the employee evaluation.

Set benchmarks for the categories selected

Take the time to decide what the benchmarks should be for the set categories. Make sure to do research – the benchmarks should be realistic!

Location, location, location

Take the time to find a place that is private, and not too sterile.  You want the employee to be comfortable, and don’t want to have the whole office eavesdropping.

Have an agenda

Having an agenda helps relieve some anxieties an employee may be having about the review.  Your agenda should include:

Past performances – What the employee’s performance was like in the previous year or years.

Current Performance – What the employee’s current performance is.

Next Year’s Goals – What new goals or benchmarks you’d like the employee to meet.

Game plan – The plan that you are going to utilise in order for the employee to correct any problems, and meet future set goals.

Have periodic reviews

You don’t want to go a whole year and have an employee suddenly find out they are not preforming to the best of their abilities. 

You want to prepare them before an annual evaluation.  The best practice to facilitate this is to have periodic evaluations throughout the year.  This way, the employee can understand what they are doing correctly, and what needs work before their annual review.  

These periodic evaluations help the employee to change whatever is prohibiting them from being the best they can be. They also help you as a supervisor determine if additional training is necessary.

Decide the appropriate paperwork

Decide what paperwork you will need for the review.  This could include job descriptions, your periodic reviews, etc.

Get organised

Make sure you have the employee’s records organised so that the annual review is not traumatic for the employee or reviewer.

Get it together

Make sure you have all of your paperwork ready before the meeting. No one likes their time wasted because someone was ill prepared. 

Get and give feedback

Give feedback to the employee about the areas in which they are excelling and need work on, but also give them the opportunity to give you feedback on where you excel and need improvement.  

Don’t be tardy!

When conducting employee evaluations you should try to make sure you do it within a few weeks of their starting date anniversary.  It’s easy to get side-tracked, but these evaluations are a priority!

Encourage self-reflection

Allow the employees to tell you what they think they do well, and what they think they need work on. It can help your employee learn the value of self-assessment, but also show them how much you value their opinions.

Encourage venting

Give the employee the opportunity to address any comments, concerns, or suggestions that they may have.  

Be straightforward with negative feedback

Give constructive criticism – it’s not always easy, but it will help everyone in the long-run.