Performance reviews aren’t always an easily mastered task. Even though they take a little bit of practice, managers can take some preemptive steps to make sure they start on the right foot. For the novice managers new to conducting performance reviews or the organization ready to take a step in the right direction to rejuvenating their current performance management system, here are a few tips to help get you started on the right track.
1. First of all, you have to acknowledge they are necessary.
They may seem like a hassle, but the truth is, your team needs them. With all of the hype against performance reviews lately, you might think your team can get by on intermittent feedback alone. Bettina Deynes, Vice President of HR at SHRM, said:
“Performance reviews are an effective tool when utilized correctly. But in order for them to be effective, there needs to be support from the leadership team and sufficient training for managers.” 
2. Underline what you want your employee to learn from the performance appraisal.
Other than simply “good job on project XYZ,” and “I think this could be improved,” this meeting with your employee should have a goal. What bit of knowledge do you want them to leave the performance appraisal with? Give them practical ways to improve and grow after every appraisal.
3. Ask your employee to come prepared for the meeting.
Of course, you’ll be prepared and have your notes ready for the review, but it is a two-way process. Your employee should come to the performance appraisal with some questions and successes as well. If you expect your employees to be prepared for the review, you have to be prepared for the performance appraisal as well. If not for your own organization, for the success of the team. In a previous post to improve employee performance, we said:
“As a supervisor, you have to be prepared before the performance appraisal and follow-up after the review with consistency or you risk losing the developmental efforts of the performance appraisal.” 
4. Be open and willing to discuss challenges and successes.
This is a safe zone. Your employees should feel comfortable talking about their challenges and successes as a team member, just as they should be comfortable suggesting how your team can provide better leadership. Ask them to identify three ways your team can lead them better.
5. Work with your employee to develop an action plan.
Setting a performance plan to help employees improve their skills should be a collaborative effort. Even if they have met or surpassed company performance standards, there’s nothing wrong with setting high bars for your team. Select goals (2 is a good number) and work backwards into those goals and deadlines together. Pick reasonable deadlines, and identify where support will help and how you will measure success of the goal! Voila!
6. Underscore what you will do to help them meet goals.
Understanding what your employee needs to hit the goals you both have just set in the above tip is crucial to their success. Nearly 80% of workers feel more appreciated when their strengths are emphasized, and 64% believe they would be more successful in the office if they can build on those strengths.  By outlining what you will do to help them reach their goals, you help them to build on those strengths. Just as you want your employee to commit to the plan, your management will need to commit to supporting that plan with resources, tools or assistance at specific intervals.
7. Express continuing support.
Ensure your team understands you support them and ask what you can do to show that support. Check in periodically on their progress of their action plan or their goals and make sure they have the tools and resources they need in order to be successful.
Performance reviews don’t have to be a trial. Even the inexperienced manager can have a good performance appraisal on their first go around. All it takes is these 7 tips to ensure you and your team get the most out of the performance appraisal season.
 – SHRM – Effectiveness of Performance Appraisals Gets Mixed Reviews f...
 – Reviewsnap – How to Improve Employee Performance in 4 Steps
 – 4 Conversations You Need to Have with Your Employees
Bio: Chris Arringdale
Chris Arringdale is the Co-Founder and President of Reviewsnap, an onlineperformance appraisal software that allows you to customize performance management, competencies, rating scales and review periods. Reviewsnap serves more than 1,200 customers worldwide including, Penske Racing, CubeSmart, PrimeSource and Nonprofit HR Solutions.