How to Improve Q1 Performance Reviews

If there’s one thing that’s pretty predictable in most organizations, it’s that the first quarter of the year each person is required to complete their performance review for the previous year.

The good news is that both leaders and team members alike pretty much loathe the process. But it’s a necessary evil and there are ways you can make the most of it for both you and your team members.

First, remember that this discussion is about what’s already been accomplished so you should have a record of it somewhere and so should your team member. If you’ve been having at least quarterly meetings throughout the year, your task will be a simple one. If you haven’t, you have made this task a bunch tougher to accomplish.

Once you’ve collected and recorded the appropriate information, set up the review meeting with your team member. Make sure the only topic of discussion for the meeting is the previous year’s review. Don’t try to combine it with a salary increase discussion or goal setting for the coming year. It will only muddy up the discussion.

Begin the discussion by asking your team member what they are most proud of from the previous year. This starts the conversation on a high note and makes the topic of the discussion exactly what it should be — about them.

Proceed when appropriate through the rest of the goals that need to be updated during this review. Thank the employee for their good work, provide necessary feedback on their performance (but not any new surprises — it’s the wrong time for that discussion) and advise them of next steps in the process.

Never forget that a performance review is about them. Keep the topic focused and you may find you enjoy having the discussion. It’s not intended to be drudge work. Make the most of it for you and your team members.

What do you think about performance reviews? Giving them? Getting them? Please share your thoughts.

Denise O'Berry

Denise O’Berry — aka the Team Doc — has been working with teams and team leadership in the public, non profit and private sectors for over twenty years. Follow her @askteamdoc.

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