two employees in a meeting
Keeping your business's performance on track relies on a detailed and effective employee review process. — Getty Images/fizkes

As an employer, the review process can feel overwhelming, especially if you lead a large team. You want to ensure you have a chance to not only analyze each person’s performance, but also find a time to schedule one-on-one meetings to discuss your feedback. Reviews may also require some difficult conversations about an employee’s performance, which can lead to discomfort for both parties.

However, the employee review process is pivotal to the success of your workers, both as individuals and as a team. Proper preparation, open lines of communication and a solutions-based mindset can take some of the stress out of employee review season.

Here are six steps that will help ensure a productive meeting for everyone involved in the employee review process.

[Read: 5 Smart Strategies for Communicating With Your Employees]

Prepare feedback in advance

Don’t walk into the employee review empty-handed. Compose your thoughts and fill out any employee review forms prior to your meeting, Indeed advises. You can use the completed form as an outline to keep your meeting on track and to ensure you don’t miss any key points. This is especially necessary if you are managing multiple employees.

Schedule one-on-ones with each employee

If you have a large team, this can seem like a daunting task — and you may be tempted to move through each review quickly in order to get everyone’s done. However, you’ll want to leave ample time not only to discuss your feedback but also to address any questions or concerns that might arise. The amount of time required will depend on how often you have employee reviews or one-on-one meetings, but 30 minutes per review should be enough time to cover all your information.

Deliver feedback with transparency

Giving clear, honest feedback will help employees understand where they are doing well and where they can improve. Indeed suggests using specific examples whenever possible, rather than broad statements.

However, this doesn’t just apply at review time. The Muse notes that employers should encourage openness and honesty at all times. Doing so will keep everyone on the same page and avoid any shock or surprise come employee review season. Transparency is also beneficial in goal setting. Your workers should know exact timelines for achieving their new goals, as well as how achievement will be measured.

Rather than having a one-sided conversation, turn the tables around by allowing your employees to share their feedback.

Ask workers if they have questions or concerns

Rather than having a one-sided conversation, turn the tables around by allowing your employees to share their feedback. This not only demonstrates your willingness to take in their perspective, but also shows that you’re invested in their success. A structured way to engage your employees is using a self-evaluation or collaborative evaluation tool with which employees can share their strengths, challenges and goals.

[Read: How to Legally Fire an Employee]

Provide employees a copy of their evaluation

It’s always best practice to provide employees with a copy of their evaluations. At the very least, give them the most relevant portions of the evaluation. This gives your workers a reference point and will keep them on track as they work towards the goals you’ve set together. This practice also encourages transparency between you and your employees as well as a collaborative review process.

End with a solution to any issues raised

Discussing poor performance or other negative topics can be uncomfortable for both the employee and employer, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Once you’ve discussed the issues, however, dwelling on them can leave your workers feeling upset or unmotivated. Shift the conversation toward the future by coming up with solutions, goals and actionable steps for improvement. Doing so will end the meeting on a positive note, leaving your employees feeling motivated to grow.

[Read: How Can I Encourage My Employees to Share Their Ideas?]

Employee reviews are a challenging, but necessary task to help your workers grow and improve your team’s bottom line. Taking these six steps will help promote a positive, productive atmosphere for everyone involved.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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