Change is the goal of a performance review. Far too often these assessments fail to make a difference because they’re forgotten as soon as the meeting concludes. Corporate life goes back to business as usual. With no follow up, the next review cycle will show no positive changes.

Part of the reason employees may ignore the results of their performance assessments is because the reviewer never answers the question: “So what?” Advice may be irrelevant to their jobs or goals, and there may not be any consequences for disregarding suggestions. People who have no reason to care about a review won’t.

Pushing the Value of Performance Reviews

Stress the importance of following the advice given during a performance review by linking the company’s goals with the employee’s. Tying success in a personal venture to the achievements of the larger operation allows for greater emotional investment in the process. Thus, people who have connections to the larger organization have a reason to see that the corporation prospers.

Part of this process is understanding what your employee does for the company. When you recognize the value of your subordinate’s role, you can stress the importance of that function in the bigger picture. Keep the following in mind, as well:

  • The information you give an employee during his or her performance review should never be a surprise. Let him or her know when work is done well or if the quality has started slipping. The performance review should merely be the official acknowledgement of what both of you already know. If an assessment does come as a surprise, allow the individual under review to process the information in his or her own way. Even seemingly good news can spark unexpected emotions, and reactions to a negative evaluation can be even more volatile. Allow the reviewee to work past the initial impression; he or she will be more likely to follow the advice. This can also make the assessment more even-handed, as the employee can give his or her perspective.
  • Follow up on the formal review process. Even if your company doesn’t require a post-assessment meeting, observe the effects of your advice. A simple “you’re following my suggestions about handling this situation – good job” can be sufficient.
  • Listening to recommendations is a two-way street. During the review process, managers should ask if there’s anything the supervisor or company should be doing differently. Follow up on the employee’s advice. Even if there isn’t anything you can do about a problem, just listening and checking on the requests can be enough. This lets the employee know you did listen and that you cared enough to try and find a solution. If he or she didn’t receive the response hoped for, you can explain why.

Conducting performance reviews properly is an exacting process – but the rewards make it worthwhile. It enables your employees to carry out their assigned jobs, sparking changes that can improve the functioning of the entire company. Streamline the review process with our eBook on self-evaluation. This is an excellent resource to help you craft a successful performance review.