The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Side of Developing Employees Through Performance Reviews

by Linda Finkle

Unfortunately, these reviews are sometimes handled poorly, causing employees to feel down instead of improving in their jobs. In other cases, performance reviews are often seen as a routine task or a formality.

The Ugly Side of Awkward Performance Reviews and Developing Employees

Chris, an advertising sales representative, worked at a big ad agency in Los Angeles. His review was coming up and he knew he wasn’t performing as well as he could have. Unfortunately, his manager wasn’t good in dealing with people. Chris was expecting negative feedback, but he didn’t expect his manager to call him a slowpoke. Although his work wasn’t perfect, Chris was closing sales and making the company money. He merely needed more time to exceed his quota. Chris quit within a month of the review and now works for the competitor.

When handled correctly, a performance review can encourage an employee to perform better. Sadly, sometimes training employees doesn’t come naturally to managers. There is a right and wrong way of handling reviews.

Watch Your Language!

There’s always a better way of saying things. Even the most negative of criticisms, when said in a constructive manner, can help people instead of hurt them.

But what ifinstead of helping people, you end up saying the wrong things and in the wrong way?

Reviews can help you in developing employees, or it can increase employee turnover. It all depends on how you handle the review. If done poorly, these can discourage employees and just worsen the way they work.

Giving Bad News and Criticisms on Performance Reviews

It’s easy to pinpoint what they have done wrong. Relaying the bad news is what plenty of supervisors get wrong too.

There are several ways a manager can go wrong in giving annual performance assessments. When managers don’t really know their employees or they are not confident in giving feedback, these reviews can be vague or too critical. An all-negative review crushes employee morale, and it surely doesn’t help in developing employees.

Performance Reviews can Boost Employee Development if:

  • It reviews employee performance, both good and bad, compared to the company’s KPIs. Feedback must be given to show where a person has been successful, but should also pinpoint areas for improvement.
  • It gauges the employee’s contribution to the company’s vision and goals
  • Managers follow through. A review serves to remind the employee and his manager of his past performance, but without a follow through, those goals could easily be forgotten.

Developing employees through regular reviews is a widely practiced process, and yet many businesses are doing it wrong. What about you? Are you having trouble doing reviews?