Human Resources

Tips for Conducting Your Yearly Reviews

Conducting yearly reviews

Ah, the end of the year. Time for the dreaded employee performance reviews. Before your annual headache starts kicking in, let’s talk about it. We could very well make the process easier for you. 

Sitting down to decide how to rate your employees’ yearly performance is a hassle. It’s time to ask yourself if it’s a hassle because you could be doing it better. Do you really need to evaluate the work your employees have done this year? A better tactic is to provide feedback throughout the year so they always know how they are performing and what you expect of them. If that’s not what you’ve been doing, you can start right now.   

Instead of performing a year end “evaluation,” have a year end “conversation” instead. Don’t use this as a meeting to tick off a list of everything your employee is doing right and wrong. Use it as an opportunity to ask your team questions that matter. First, a tip: Avoid questions that elicit yes or no responses. You want conversation starters, not one word answers. We’re going to provide some ideas for conducting your review and then we are going to provide you with some questions you can use. 


  1. Select Priorities

Before you sit down with your employee, make a decision about two or three topics you want to concentrate on. Now is not the time to bombard your employee with every thought you have. When you give priority to just a few topics, you are creating a focused conversation from the start. 


  1. Be Supportive

There is nothing to say that you can’t point out ways that your employee may be underperforming, but you should also be prepared to discuss the why’s. Is there something they need that they don’t have? Do they feel as though their contributions don’t matter? Find out why your employee isn’t performing up to your standards and be prepared for honest feedback. Now is a great time to open the door of communication and support the person that spends their day working for you. 


  1. Don’t Be Personal

When you are having this meeting, avoid commenting on the employee’s personal behaviors. This is a time to discuss work and work performance — that’s it.  


  1. Talk About What’s Right

Even the worst employees do the right things. Before your meeting, make a list of the things that your employee is doing right, even if it’s only a single thing. Discuss that with your employee and praise them for a job well done. You may be surprised at how much productivity is boosted after an employee is recognized for doing something well. 


  1. Don’t Interrupt

Avoid interrupting your employee while they are speaking. You will come off as insensitive and you will cut off any opportunity for conversation. Listen to what your employee has to say fully and ask questions to clarify what has been said if necessary. 


  1. Offer Solutions

 You don’t want to be the boss that tells an employee everything they’re doing wrong and then end the meeting. It’s your job to make your employees better, so decide how you are going to do that. Maybe you’re going to provide extra training. Maybe you’re going to give them a list of action steps. Offer solutions and support. 

Questions That May Be Valuable

  1. What other ways could you do your job?

With this question, you are giving your employee an opportunity to provide you with alternate ways they may be able to get the job done. Your employee is the one who is doing the job and chances are they’ve given thought to how they can do it better or more efficiently. Ask for those ideas; you may hear something you’ve not thought of. 


  1. What is your favorite part of the job?

This will give you an opportunity to find out what your employee loves to do. It’s a great way to determine if an employee may be better suited to another position in the company as well. Remember that your goal is growth and a great way to achieve that is to have employees who are excited about doing their jobs. 


  1. How can I help you?

Not every boss will get an honest answer to this question. If you are the type of boss that is normally supportive, however, you could get some very in depth answers. Take the answer on board and help when and where you can. 


  1. What are your strengths in your position?

This sounds a bit like an interview question, but why not ask it? It will give you an idea if you and your employee are on the same page with regards to their performance. 


  1. What do you think of our company’s culture?

Studies have shown that people will work for less money if they are happy where they work. People are willing to trade a great culture for the few thousand dollars more they may be paid elsewhere. Ask each employee this question and take notes. Use your notes as a way to change your company’s environment for the better. 

If you are dreading employee review time, know that your employees are dreading it even more. The entire event is stressful for everyone. Use the tips above to turn your annual evaluations on their head. Instead of making it all about what your employees are doing wrong, make it about discovering ways to make your employees better. 

For even more ways in which you can save time within your office’s walls, reach out to We have a team of experts that are here and ready to help you with anything you need as far as running your company more efficiently, from payment processing to optimizing your hiring process. Call us today to learn more about how we can help your small business thrive, or to start a free trial of our premium package. 

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