If you communicate regularly, a review is simply a formal touch point of what both the manager and employee ALREADY KNOW.   If you aren’t communicating expectations and how employees are meeting those expectations throughout the year, you have bigger problems than “review anxiety”.

Here are some suggestions to take the stress out of the review process:

·         Schedule regular one-on-one coaching calls or brief meetings with direct reports.  This could be a monthly ride-along day with a technician, or a weekly/semi-weekly call or meeting with a salesperson or service manager.  Have a brief agenda that you cover each time so you are always up to date on 4 or 5 important points you want to track.

  • Simple formula for coaching sessions – Listen twice as much as you talk.  If you know you have a deficit to address, be candid, even blunt.  Then be sure to offer positive reinforcement 2x for the things that are working.
  • Collect the results of these calls/meetings and keep them for reference as needed.
  • Metrics matter.  If you track technician performance or sales achievement quarterly, add those to your document or folder.
  • All of these notes can easily be tracked on a smart phone app to save time and hassle.
  • Spend an hour with your notes and thoughts prior to scheduling an employee review.  Fill out appropriate sections of the review document ahead of time.
  • Have the employee fill out appropriate sections of the review document (achievements, developmental needs, etc.)

Once these things are done, the review should last 30-45 minutes, if the groundwork has been laid throughout the year.  Again, it is a validation of what both parties already know.  No surprises, low stress.

All good managers talk to their people frequently.  They know what works, what doesn’t, and where improvement is needed – and they don’t wait until January of each year to praise someone for a job well done!