Employees need feedback to know how they are doing and if they are meeting their supervisor's or manager’s expectations.

Organizations may hold performance reviews 60 days, 90 days, mid-year, or annually to provide feedback, encourage employee development and assess employee progress and contribution.  

A performance review regardless of when it’s done challenges the manager’s communication skills because the employee knows the performance review can affect his or her compensation. This can also cause stress, conflict, anxiety, and hurt feelings.

Regardless of how your organization handles performance reviews sometimes it’s hard to find the right words at the right time to start a conversation that might be difficult.

Listed below are some ideas for providing feedback:

Employee performance is outstanding:
Give examples of the reasons for rating the employee’s performance as outstanding. The employee will learn from the examples you share with them and encourage them to identify actions that are significant.

Employee currently performing and your performance can be improved:
Let the employee know they are performing and meeting the expectations of the job's requirements, but they have the opportunity to improve performance to be an outstanding employee.

Employee performance is not meeting expectations:
Indicate key performance areas that need improvement and communicate that information clearly to the employee so they understand the implications of their poor performance. Have a “performance improvement plan” set goals, make agreements, set deadlines and due dates and meet to check on the progress.

Employee does not understand what you are telling them:
Do not continue to repeat the same information when an employee does not seem to understand what you are trying to convey. Find other ways to say the same thing in the belief that one of them will clearly communicate your concerns. Let the employee know that you are open to questions that will help clarify anything not understood.

Employee disagrees with what you are telling them:
When you have tried to clearly communicate problems you’ve noted along with feedback from other managers or supervisors regarding the employee’s performance and he/she disagrees you may have to ask additional questions.  

  • Can you provide examples that will show me why you feel my assessment of your performance is wrong?
  • What do you think I am misunderstanding about your performance that I have observed?

Summarize to ensure understanding: 
Want to express to the employee that you have the confidence in their ability to learn, grow, change or improve. You want to be on the same page so have them summarize what has been discussed.

At the Bank of Prairie, we hold mid-year and annual performance reviews with the retail staff. We ask the retail staff to fill out and turn in a “Monthly Report” to their supervisor that addresses: Accomplishments, Concerns/Problems, Goals/Offages and Plans for next month.  Nice guide to use when it comes time to do their reviews.

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year and all the best for 2018.

Phyllis Dresser, Bank of Prairie du Sac, is a member of the WBA Retail Section Board.