Most organizations still require managers to conduct annual evaluations. We recommend offering more frequent, timely feedback to improve and maintain performance.
Still, if the annual review is one of your jobs requirements, you can’t avoid it. As a new leader, it can be pretty overwhelming, especially if you have to conduct several reviews all at once.
That’s why we recommend this strategy: Each day, for each employee, jot down a few notes about the employees performance. You can use your preferred note-taking tools, whether that is an online app, a simple Word document or an actual spiral notebook. Just make sure whatever you choose, that you keep it accessible and that it’s easy to use. Here’s why this system works:
- Taking notes reminds you to talk with your staff. Each day you will realize on what issues you need to offer immediate feedback they can use to improve their work or build on their best skills and habits. Like we’ve said, regular, ongoing feedback is ideal, and this process forces to you think about the things each employee is doing well and the things each should change.
- Annual evaluations become more comprehensive and fair. You won’t be relying on your memory of the employees’ performance or the information they include in their self-evaluations, because you will have documented highlights through the year. 12 months is a long time, and no one can remember everything. A few quick notes each day can ensure that you’re basing employees’ evaluations on the full body of their work over the year, and not just the final few months.
- Writing evaluations becomes quick and easy. You will have everything you need in one place when the time for formal reviews came around, so creating those formal evaluations will be a breeze.
Once again, we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to offer feedback freqquently. Not only will you ensure that you are doing everything you can to improve and maintain performance throughout the year (and before small issues balloon into huge problems), but when the annual review does come around, employees won’t be surprised by what you have to say.
The task is often difficult for new leaders, so here are some additional resources that will walk you through the process:
6 Ways to Be More Comfortable and Confident When Receiving Feedback
How to Offer Feedback without Creating Resistance
Keeping Feedback from Becoming Personal
How to Give Feedback in a Non-Threatening Way