It’s that time of year

Often around this time of year, managers will conduct performance reviews and, while the process is dreaded by many, there are some who see it as an opportunity.

It’s that time of year

Often around this time of year, managers will conduct performance reviews and, while the process is dreaded by many, Paul Robinson of Randstad says that it is an excellent time to give constructive feedback, monitor employee engagement levels, assess and set goals, and foster understanding of mutual expectations.

When managed well, performance reviews can assist in the motivation and development of talent. But in order for this to happen, according to Robinson, both parties have to be fully engaged in the process and it should be referred to throughout the year – not treated as a once-off.

“Providing consistent feedback, setting clear expectations and regularly setting goals is an important tool to ensure your teams remain motivated,” Robinson wrote in a blog.

Most importantly, it should be viewed as a conversation. “For the process to be effective, it’s important both parties involved recognise a review isn’t simply a one-way analysis – it’s a dialogue between the manager and employee,” according to Robinson.

Robinson believes that performance reviews are key to increasing an individual employee’s level of engagement. “If done properly, employees feel more valued and it gives them an opportunity to revisit their accomplishments and to re-set the goals for the rest of year,” he said.

When asked what he thought about those ringing the death knell of performance reviews, Robinson issued a note of caution. “I think we need to be really careful of that. Everyone wants to feel valued in their job and everyone wants to know that they are an important part of the bigger picture, and it it’s an important part of management for leaders to share their vision and what part the person plays in this,” he said. Performance reviews offer the perfect opportunity to do this.

“I think from an employee’s perspective…everyone deserves one, you should request one, especially if you want your career to go to the next level.”

How to get the most out of a performance review:


  1. ‘Allow time for reflection; both positive and negative’: As with all meetings, preparation is key so take the time to honestly assess your employee’s performance throughout the year – the good and the bad. Come to the meeting with examples, and suggest that the employee prepare a diary in the coming year to record their own.
  2. ‘Look to the future’: The performance review is as much about looking to the future as assessing the past. “Set goals, objectives and targets that are realistic and achievable for employees, and make sure procedures are in place to track these goals.”
  3. ‘Don’t make it personal’: While performance reviews involve critique, deliver it in a way that is both constructive and respectful. “When delivering legitimate critique, present a solution focussed approach and identify how both you and the employee can correct the issue moving forward.”
  4. Be prepared to listen to the case for promotion: Keep an open mind and give the employee the opportunity to explain where they have exceeded expectations. Be prepared to listen because if you demonstrate resistance at the out-set, you’re likely to demotivate your employee.
  5. Be prepared to listen to the case for a pay-rise: Again, as with promotions, it’s important to listen to an employee’s request for a pay-rise. Ensure that you know the market value for their role before you meet with them and be transparent with your employee. You can also discuss other benefits that may be of great value to an employee, such as flexible hours, training opportunities, and perks like a gym membership.

To read Robinson's blog click here.

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