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Eight Ways To Give Annual Performance Reviews More Meaning This Year


With the end of the year looming, companies across all industries will begin scheduling end-of-year performance reviews with their employees. But rather than stick to what was always done, even if it wasn’t very effective, leaders can strive to generate more meaning from these reviews and give their team members more actionable, personal feedback they can take with them into the new year.

But to do so, leaders will need to consider a few tips first. Below, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their best advice for how businesses can make end-of-year performance reviews more meaningful and explain why these techniques may actually be better than what’s traditionally done.

1. Make Them Part Of A Goal-Setting Process

The best way to make year-end performance reviews more worthwhile is to make sure that they are the first step in the goal-setting process for the new year. The process should review the good—and not so good—and take time to identify strengths and areas of improvement. Use the development areas to then build goals to drive improvement in the new year. – Zane Stevens, Protea Financial

2. Get A 360-Degree Point Of View

The end-of-year performance review should be the culmination of your monthly and quarterly reviews, so make sure to revisit those. Draw on feedback from peers and other managers to achieve a 360-degree outlook. This will allow your feedback to be hands-on, actionable and objective. Finally, make sure you ask your employee for their observations about your company, as feedback should work both ways. – Daria Gonzalez, Wunderdogs

3. Focus On The Future

Make this year’s performance review about the future. Ask your people to each describe their perfect role, regardless of what you are offering. This strategy lets you learn what fuels your team. These sources of positive motivation let you search for creative plans that give your employees what they want while getting your company what it needs to thrive. Recap the past, but focus on the future. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts

4. Treat Them Like Two-Way Conversations

Do end-of-year performance reviews more like two-way conversations where both parties can share, discuss and find clear pathways to engage in the future. Unlike traditional models, these conversations should create clarity, promote trust, reduce anxiety and showcase alignment. Employers should be able to help employees identify their challenges and come up with practical solutions to solve them. – Brian David Crane, Spread Great Ideas

5. Change Up Your Evaluation System

One way businesses can make end-of-year performance reviews more meaningful is by using an evaluation system that rates employees on a scale of one to five. This will help to create a more understandable and supportive environment where employees are rewarded for their accomplishments while also providing constructive feedback. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

6. Offer Actionable Feedback

If you really want to make your end-of-year performance review more meaningful, focus on offering feedback that is not just valuable for your employees but actionable as well. In conducting your reviews, make sure to point out how your team can perform better by giving them actionable tips that they can use to improve their performance. – Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite

7. Look At Contributions To The Company Culture

One thing to include in a performance review is an employee’s contribution to the work culture and environment. It can help employees improve their engagement, ultimately leading to better results for the business. It also makes for a more pleasant workplace for everyone. This is a more meaningful approach as it encourages employees to contribute more holistically. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

8. Ask What The Employee Would Like To Learn

If you want more value from your end-of-year reviews, ask your employees what they would like to learn in the year ahead. With this question, you can learn a lot about whether someone is interested in a promotion or moving to a new department. You can also see how seriously they take their role. I think this is a much better tool than a simple pat on the back. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC

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