Aaahhh, Tis the Season: 4 Tips for Getting the Most from Your Annual Reviews

December 4, 2012

Is it really most wonderful time of the year? It can be — if you take advantage of these tips to make the most of your annual reviews.

make the most of your annual reviewsMost employers spend the year dangling a bonus and/or raise in front of employees, but when it finally comes time to have the annual review meeting typically not much is accomplished.

Sometimes reviews are not even a conversation, but rather a meeting where the employer asks, “How are things going? Here is what I am raising your compensation by.” Other times the employee is put on the spot to list their accomplishments as well as identify areas they need improvement in. Bo-ring! What did you actually learn about the employee in that meeting?

Here are four tips to help you take full advantage of your employee annual reviews:

1) Set an Agenda

Prior to setting up your review with your employees tell them your agenda. What is it you hope the meetings are going to accomplish? What can they expect? Will this be an opportunity for them to voice their concerns, or is this strictly a conversation about what you think about their performance and how it can improve?

The best approach to a performance review is to have both sides prepare for the agenda. Yes, accomplishments should be discussed; yes shortcomings should be discussed; but is typically missing is why that employee is pertinent to the company.

2) Focus on the Big Picture

Never use this valuable time to bring up things that should be managed on the day-to-day. For example, rather than explain why the employee should really stop hitting Reply All when responding to emails, use this time to go over the big picture. Are you developing this employee into a leader? Talk about what you think it takes to be a leader in the company and how they can get to that goal.

3) Stay Positive

Try to remain up-beat during these meetings, even when discussing things the employee needs to improve on. This is not a chance to micromanage, it is a dialogue between employer and employee.

4) Hear the Employee Out

Speaking of having a dialogue…remember to let the employee speak. Allow them time to brag about what they succeeded in, and what they want to accomplish next year. Also, this is about the only time they have with you to discuss their compensation. Respect that. Tell them the increase you are thinking of, but be open to what they have to say. If you are looking to lose employees in 2013 then by all means, run this meeting with an iron fist and don’t listen to what your employees have to say.

So employers, think back to when you were sitting on the opposite side of the table. How would you have liked to have your review go? Let’s end 2012 well and all begin fresh in 2013!


Senior Corporate Recruiter

<strong>Lindsey Gurian</strong> is the Senior Corporate Recruiter at <a href="">Acquia</a>. She was previously a Senior Talent Specialist at Sonian, responsible for recruiting initiatives at both the firm and its portfolio companies.