After completing our degrees, we were sure we wouldn’t have to worry about examinations and tests to prove our knowledge anymore. However, that is not the case at all. While we may not have to worry about academics, employees still have annual performance reviews with which to navigate.

Performance reviews do not historically usually come with positive connotations. Many employees and employers think of the complete process as extremely draining. This is where the Human Resource manager and human resource team come in. They are responsible for making the process as positive as possible and ensuring that all concerned parties participate wholeheartedly. This is not a paper pushing exercise that become the thorn in a side but a process that benefits both the employee and the employer and sets clear goals and objectives on expectations.

Performance reviews have several benefits, such as regular appraisals, increased productivity from clear expectations and reassessment of company policies to promote success. The HR team should ensure that the process is completed successfully, so that it not only benefits the business but also align the employee to achieve the overall business goals.

Here are some tips that can help conduct performance reviews successfully in 2022.

Performance Reviews

Here are some tips HR managers can use to make valuable changes in the performance reviews process:

Enable Upskilling

One of the biggest concerns is whether or not your managers are up to the task. The performance review process can be challenging for the managers, too, as they may lack the interpersonal skills necessary to communicate with the employee and better understand their performance.

If these managers are more experienced on the technical side, it is more likely for them to have difficulty when performing a performance review for their employees. They know what they know, they k ow what needs doing but they may not be skilled in communicating that to the teams.

The HR should provide necessary coaching to all the managers and show them the ropes and the how to. To further assist them with the process, you can make a list of questions or a form they can use to assess their team’s performance. These questions can include some options such as:

  • What has been the most significant achievement for the employee this year?
  • What challenges do they have to face to accomplish all their tasks?
  • Are you satisfied with the job responsibilities you have at the moment?
  • What you are expecting for the future?

Remove Bias

Bias can hinder decision-making and can be entirely unfair to employees. Bias may be unconscious, but the manager needs to be able to review the performance of employees without letting the bias intervene. The performance review process needs to be seen to be fair, transparent and consistent. Managers with conflict or personal relationships that cross over the workplace/ workmate line should not be completed by the person whom that personal relationship is with. Its much better to keep all things clear and above the water line for all to see – that saves any questions, assumptions or accusations.

Managers, in most cases, are not responsible for the increase in the salary, or they do not get to decide how much raise an employee gets. Keeping that in mind, it is crucial to keep the managers in the loop when the company decides the pay raise so they can understand the merits they must judge the employees on. With an ever increasing cost of living in 2022 – pay is very emotive and can make or break a working relationship. Tread this pathway carefully and increase on merit that is easily justified.

As managers play an essential role in deciding the employees’ future, they must remove all bias from their decisions.

Normalise Feedbacks All Year

When companies allocate a specific time in the year for performance reviews, they instil a sense of fear and dread in their employees. The impending doom can disrupt employee performance and hinder the process of reviews. Performance conversations are conversations that are ongoing. You don’t wait six-months to complain about bad service or a faulty good – so why do we wait so long to provide feedback and guidance on performance.

Instead of keeping the performance reviews for a certain period every year, it is best if HR helps the managers normalize feedback all year round. Establishing a culture where managers regularly give feedback will help in several ways. For instance, if the manager consistently tells employees where they are lacking and their strengths, they will be able to improve how employees work around the year. That will also amount to positive feedback when the yearly performance reviews are in question. Keep the communication ongoing.

“Conversational one-on-one meetings in a less formal setting are more likely to lead to a positive impact and help employees improve and refine their performance”

Reassess Performance Indicators

There need to be some criteria for the managers to assess the employees. HR teams can develop performance indicators that are more specific to what the organization is about. When thinking about employee performance, you need to keep the expectations and work model of the company in mind. That will help you look for employee performance that is important for the company and can have benefits. Align the expectations of the employee with that of the organisation – you all need to be working towards the same goals and outcomes. Performance indicators may change overtime as the organisation goes through ebbs and flows of the economy and with market influences. Keep employees ahead with these changes and aligned to the moving goals.

Keep the Process Transparent

Transparency is vital when it comes to performance review. Whether you are conducting annual or bi-annual performance reviews, you need to ensure that you have a transparent approach where the employees know that they are being evaluated on their performance.

Moreover, you can also go ahead and tell the employees what they will be assessed on to give them a fair fighting chance where they can quickly improve their performance according to company expectations. This can be great for employee motivation and help remove the stigma around yearly performance reviews.

But transparency must start from the top. The best way to inspire transparency in others is to model it yourself. If you demand total transparency from your people while playing your cards close to your chest, you’ll just end up looking like a hypocrite. Lead by example.

“Being transparent and honest with feedback not only opens the lines of communication but establishes trust between both parties. When there’s trust, people are more likely to accept feedback and want to improve because they feel more connected to their organization”

By definition, trust has to go both ways. If you can’t trust your people by being honest with them, it sends a clear message that they should keep you at arm’s length too.

And workplace trust is really important.

Be Realistic

When evaluating your employee’s performance, your goals should be very realistic. You cannot expect an employee to accomplish all goals within a year. During the evaluations, you need to ensure that the goals are achievable by the employee and their skill set. Moreover, they must also be time bound to ensure that the employees have had enough advantage to work towards the goals given the resources and the time frame. This is why the managers or team leaders should be very vocal about the goals they have in mind and what the team to accomplish.

Doing this will help motivate your employees to work hard towards the goals to prepare them for the expected performance reviews.

“Two-way dialog that avoids one person talking at the other, and instead opens the lines of communication.”

Give Positive Feedback

Instead of being highly critical in your performance reviews, indulging in positive feedback is better. All tech giants have taken a more humanistic approach, and we are more interested in discussing the employees’ strengths. The positive feedback helps employees stay motivated for the year to come and gives them the dedication to improve all the areas they have been lacking previously.

“Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.”
– Frank A. Clark


Short Course for Managers – Performance Management 

evaluating your employee's performance


Learn about 

  • Principles of Performance Management
  • Creating and Sustaining high-performing teams
  • Performance Management Cycle
  • Managing underperformance
  • Effective performance Management conversations