Build great Teams – People management

How To Deliver A Productive Review

How To Deliver A Productive Review

When the time comes for an end-of year review make sure you deliver a productive review. It should be a good experience for both parties. It should help the employee move forward with a clear understanding of what they’re doing well and where they can improve.

The best reviews are relative to SMART goals and use feedback from relevant people, including the employee. You should conduct them in an appropriate environment without external interruption. They are calm conversations that do not descend into argument.

Productive Reviews Relate To Goals

Make sure you focus the review on the employee’s SMART goals. If you asked them to grow lemons, don’t spend an hour with them talking about how well they grew apples. Refer to the employee’s SMART goals when you assess them and when you conduct the review. This will help you remember what you asked them to do. Create a template that includes the SMART goals to help you when you assess them. In it, record whether they met the goal or not. Note down what they did well so you don’t forget to tell them. Note down areas where they could improve, and jot down ways to make that feedback constructive ahead of any meeting.

Productive Reviews Include Feedback From Others

Ask other relevant people to provide feedback to reinforce your observations. People to ask might include those who have worked with the employee, or have been impacted by the employee’s work. Ask your employee to write a self-evaluation which will show you their level of self-awareness. Remember to guide any contributors to focus their feedback on the employee’s SMART goals.

Create a template that includes the SMART goals, to send to anyone who will be providing feedback. This will allow you to capture all feedback in a consistent format and it helps focus feedback on the goals. Provide the template to the person who will be providing feedback well in advance. Give them time to provide useful information, and make sure you have time to read it and ask questions if required. Ask other contributors to provide their honest and constructive feedback on the employee’s performance. Explain it is not a formal record; it’s a tool to help you provide more balanced feedback to the employee.

A Productive Review Is Fair

Once you have all the information, evaluate it against the goals. Give an overall rating that corresponds to the actual level of achievement. Don’t inflate a rating to avoid a difficult conversation, and don’t award a high rating based on past track record.

A Productive Review Is Conducted In A Private Environment

Hold the review meeting in an appropriate, private environment. Tell other people you’re conducting a performance review so they don’t disturb you. Don’t be tempted to take phone calls or read emails during the meeting. If you have used SMART goals and continual feedback processes during the year, the result at the end of the year will not be a surprise. If you can remove surprise, the review will be a more pleasant experience for both manager and employee.

My Question To You

Are you guilty of not giving your undivided attention during a review meeting? Do you use a template to make sure you’re consistent with the feedback you provide? If this is something you would like to discuss or would like some help with, contact me at You can also buy my book Accelerate to Team Success which is available as a paperback or on Kindle.


About the Author:

Nikki Faulkner photo Dr Nikki Faulkner founded Mulberry Bush Consulting to work with business leaders and their teams to make the 'People' side of their business as effective as possible. Mulberry Bush Consulting's specialty is helping small businesses who are new to having employees and helping businesses who are growing rapidly and increasing their employee-base at a rate that is creating a significant challenge.

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