How to Have a Successful Performance Evaluation Conversation as a Manager

Author: Ashlee Lunce

How to Have a Successful Performance Evaluation Conversation as a Manager

One of the most important duties of a manager is to provide regular performance evaluations for your employees. From being prepared to outlining how to give your feedback in a direct but constructive way can be a lot to manage and can be a source of stress. These conversations can be difficult, but they are essential for maintaining a healthy workplace. With our insights and best practices, you can ensure your performance evaluation conversations with your employees are set up for success from the beginning.

Be Prepared

As a manager, you should always be prepared for your performance evaluation conversations. Before the meeting, take some time to review the employee’s work over the past year. Make notes of both their successes and areas where they could improve. This will help you to have a productive conversation. 

Questions you want to ask yourself are:

  • What have they been working on? What has been going well? Are there any areas that need improvement?  Reviewing your employees’ recent successes and challenges will help you to put the conversation in context and understand where they are performing well and where there is room for improvement. 
  • Second, list specific examples to use as evidence during the conversation. These could be instances where an employee went above and beyond or times when they may have struggled to meet a goal. Having concrete evidence will help to make your case more effective. 
  • Finally, remember to be honest and open-minded during the conversation. Performance evaluations are an opportunity to provide feedback and help employees grow, so approach the conversation with that goal in mind. You can make the most of this important opportunity with a bit of preparation.

Be Solution-Oriented

A performance evaluation aims to help the employee grow and improve. Therefore, it is important to focus on solutions rather than problems. For each area of concern, brainstorm possible solutions the employee can implement. While it’s important to give employees honest feedback about their performance, it’s also important to be solutions-oriented. 

  • Rather than dwelling on what an employee has done wrong, try to focus on what they can do to improve. This doesn’t mean sugarcoating your feedback but framing it in a way that emphasizes improvement. For example, rather than saying, “you didn’t meet your sales goals this quarter,” you might say, “sales were below goal this quarter. In order to improve, let’s focus on these three areas,” or you might suggest that they attend a training course on effective selling techniques.
  • By taking a solutions-oriented approach, you can help the employee develop a plan to improve their performance and make the most of their strengths. This will make employees see their performance evaluations as growth opportunities rather than personal attacks.

Make A Plan And Follow Through

When it comes time for a performance evaluation, one of the most important things you can do is to create a work plan. This will help to ensure that you and your employees are on the same page regarding your goals and objectives. Here are a few tips for creating a work plan that will help your performance evaluation go smoothly:

  • Define The Goals: What do you want them to achieve in the coming year? Be specific and realistic in your goals, and make sure that they align with the objectives of your company.
  • Outline A Timeline: When do you want them to achieve each goal? Breaking down the goals into smaller milestones will make them more achievable and help your employees track your progress over time.
  • Identify Risks and Challenges: What could prevent them from achieving your goals? By identifying potential obstacles early on, you can develop contingency plans to overcome them.
  • By taking the time to work with your employees to create a well-thought-out work plan, you can set yourself up for a successful performance evaluation conversation as a manager and win the day. 

Suggest A Mentor or Coach

As a manager, you play an important role in mentoring your employees and helping them to grow in their careers. One way to do this is to suggest that they get a mentor. A mentor can provide guidance, support, and advice on navigating the workplace, developing professionally, and reaching their goals. Additionally, a mentor can help your employee to build self-confidence and learn new skills. If you think that your employee would benefit from having a mentor, here are a few tips on how to suggest it:

  • Talk about the benefits of mentorship: Explain how a mentor can help your employee to grow professionally and reach their goals.
  • Share your own experience with mentorship: If you have had a mentor in your own career, talk about how they helped you and why you think it was beneficial
  • Help them find a mentor: Ask if they have someone in mind you would like to approach or offer to help connect them with someone you think would be a good match.
  • Encourage them to take the first step: Remind them that the best way to get started is to simply reach out and begin building a relationship with their mentor.

As a manager, conducting performance evaluation conversations comes with the job, but it’s not all bad or scary as it can come across to be. Focusing on the positives and the outcomes of the conversation will help to prepare and outline key conversation points which will allow your employees to feel valued, seen and a part of the team. Even if you need to deliver more challenging news, see this as an opportunity for your employees to improve, align to new goals and set a successful plan. 

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