Research reveals that employees who receive positive feedback are much more motivated to work than employees who receive reviews that primarily cover their weaknesses. Therefore, it pays–literally–to think and speak positively to improve employee performance and give employees the incentive needed to perform better and contribute to your company’s mission.
However, that does not mean your feedback should consist only of glowing phrases. You also need to counter employee proficiencies by mentioning ways in which they can improve their performance. You just don’t want to make “improvement” the main topic.
A performance review must cover both an employee’s contributions and efforts while mentioning some areas where he or she could do better. You can do this more easily if you preface your communications by highlighting an employee’s abilities first.
Therefore, your performance review comments must be more than a perfunctory statement. They must come from your own personal observations about how the employee does his or her work.
Doing so will inspire an employee to do their best, as the comments pertain specifically to them. You need to let the employee know that his or her efforts matter. Otherwise, they may still feel unsure about where they stand.
To balance out the equation, your next goal is to share some ways the employee can improve. To master this form of communication, you have to use understanding and tact. Therefore, you need to express yourself so the feedback is not, in this case, about the employee per se, but is about a specific behavior.
If you take this stance, you don’t have to worry about any misinterpretation. You want the employee to receive the information objectively so he or she can shift their behavior so they work more productively.
By giving your employee a review that focuses on their contributions and the areas where they can improve, you’ll impart a better feeling of good will. You also want to encourage your employee to take part in the discussion so he or she can lend their own input and feedback.
For example, if your employee does well with finishing tasks and working as a team member, you’ll no doubt want them to know how their efforts have been noted. However, he may have a problem with tardiness. To broach the subject tactfully, you might say the following:
“Joe, I appreciate the fact that you work hard and complete your tasks by using due diligence and forethought. However, I’m wondering how we might improve on your attendance record. While you’ve shown you’re highly capable in doing your job, it also is important to get to work, like everyone else, by the required time.”
You also might add:
“If you’re having transportation issues or you also feel that you could do better, let’s discuss how we can improve in this area.”
As you can see, from the above example, the conversation is not conveyed in an abrupt or authoritarian manner. It merely serves as feedback – a summation of what is happening so the employee can improve.
You can indeed become a master when it comes to giving performance reviews. You will find the key when you work toward a common goal.